Meet the Artists | Mike Nelson


The affect that fiction
has upon you. That sort of sense
of being transported. The fact that you could be
sitting in an armchair and yet you could be
sort of on the high seas or within a war. And the potential
to try and enlist that in a sculptural form
seems very exciting. Hello. My name is Mike Nelson. We’re in my studio
in Crystal Palace in South London. I’m an artist who’s
probably best known for rebuilding buildings years ago or building
fictional spaces, but more recently
perhaps more sculptural works. Objects are kind of imbued with
a certain power in themselves, in their very actuality. When we surround
ourselves with them there is a certain osmosis. It’s a complex and
complicated relationship, which I’m not completely
kind of in control of. But at the same time
trying to make sense. I think it became
very clear to me the idea of perhaps creating a scenario where there’s
a kind of glitch in reality. This construction of a space purely for you as the viewer,
as the visitor to enter into, was actually quite a strong and
sort of emotive thing to do. Because in a way your eyes
are seeing something, which is a replicant
of what we normally experience. But because, you know,
it didn’t exist before, and it’s been built for this
purpose for you to enter. This sort of sense of unreality
is quite kind of aggravating. There was more
and more a desire to understand those works as an experiential thing,
which of course they were but an experiential thing
in terms of like they equated more
to sort of film or to theatre as opposed to
sort of like sculpture. Whereas it was a more sensory
experience of material that I wanted. Ultimately, there is
a visceral physicality to the things that I have made. Be they spaces or objects which have touched people,
you know, in peculiar ways. Which I’m very proud of that I’ve actually managed
to communicate something through such, kind of,
such lowly material. I think the studio is more
of a psychological space than a making space or a physical space. And, you know,
I enjoy collating objects that perhaps, or material,
that potentially might be work or might become work. But also may just exist as…
almost as fellow travelers. The question about the object
when it becomes sculpture and when it’s not sculpture, it’s one of those things where
it kind of doesn’t matter. But it completely matters. And it’s that oscillation
between those two things that make it
interesting ultimately. Its utter inconsequence
and its utter importance.

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