Professor Mike Nelson

School: School of Art and Architecture
Position: Professor of Fine Art

Biography

Mike Nelson's work has centred on the transformation of narrative structure to spatial structure, and on the objects placed within them, immersing the viewer and agitating their perception of these environments. The narratives employed by the artist are not teleological, but multi-layered, and often fractured to the extent that they could be described as a semblance of 'atmospheres', put together to give a sense of meaning. The more discrete sculptural works are informed by this practice, often relying on their ambiguity to fade in and out of focus, as a sculpture or thing of meaning, and back to the very objects or material from which they are made. By working in this way the more overtly political aspects of the early works have become less didactic, allowing for an ambiguity of meaning, both in the way that they are experienced and understood. This has led to the possibility of the viewer being coerced into a state where the understanding of the varied structures of their existence, both conscious and sub-conscious, are made tangible.

Born in Loughborough (UK) in 1967, Mike Nelson lives and works in London. His solo exhibitions and projects include: Cloak of rags (Tale of a dismembered bank, rendered in blue), Galleria Franco Noero, Turin (2017); tools that see (possessions of a thief) 1985-2005, neugerriemschneider, Berlin (2016); Cloak, Noveau Musee National de Monaco, Monaco; Imperfect geometry for a concrete quarry, Kalkbrottet, Limhamn, Malmö, Sweden (2016); Amnesiac Shrine or The Misplacement... Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2016); Gang of Seven, 303 Gallery, New York (2015); Studio apparatus for Kunsthalle Münster, Kunsthalle Münster (2014); Eighty Circles through Canada, Tramway, Glasgow (2014); Amnesiac Hide, The Powerplant, Toronto (2014); Mike Nelson, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2013); More things (To the memory of Honoré de Balzac), Matt's Gallery, London (2013); M6, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK (2013); space that saw (platform for a performance in two parts), neugerriemschneider, Berlin (2012); 408 tons of imperfect geometry, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden (2012); I, IMPOSTOR, British Pavilion, 54th Biennale di Venezia (2011); Quiver of Arrows, 303 Gallery, New York (2010); A Psychic Vacuum, Creative Time, New York (2007); AMNESIAC SHRINE or Double coop displacement, Matt's Gallery, London (2006); Triple Bluff Canyon, Modern Art Oxford (2004); Nothing is True. Everything is Permitted. ICA, London (2001); The Deliverance and The Patience, a PEER Commission for the Venice Biennale (2001) and The Coral Reef, Matt's Gallery, London (2000). His group shows include: Wanderlust, The Highline, New York (2016); La Vie Moderne, 13th Biennale de Lyon (2015); INSIDE, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014); September 11, MoMA PS1, New York (2011); Singapore Biennale (2011); Altermodern, Tate Britain (2009); Psycho Buildings, Hayward Gallery, London (2008); Eclipse: Art in a Dark Age, Moderna Museet, Stockholm Sweden (2008); Reality Check, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark (2008); Turner Prize, Tate Liverpool (2007); Frieze Projects, Frieze Art Fair, London (2006); and Turner Prize, Tate Britain, London (2001).

Mike Nelson is represented by 303 Gallery, New York; Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Matt's Gallery, London; and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.

Related links

Research expertise

Sculpture and installation

Teaching areas & responsibilities

Fine Art, BA, MA, MPhil and PhD research

Professional activity

  • 2017Selection panel, The BALTIC Artists' Award
  • 2013Selection panel, Onsite Residency, T-A-P, Southend-on-Sea
  • 2013Selection panel, Phynance Residency, Flat Time House, London
  • 2012Selection panel, SV12, Studio Voltaire, London
  • 2009Selection panel, Awards for Artists, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, London
  • 2009 - presentSelection panel, Rijksakademie, Amsterdam
  • 2002 - 2003Selection panel, Prix de Roma, Rijksakademie, Amsterdam
  • 2001Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2001, London
  • 2001New Works Scotland, Collective Gallery Program, Edinburgh

Educational and professional qualifications

  • 1993MA Sculpture Chelsea College of Art & Design
  • 1990BA(Hons) Fine Art, first class Reading University

Exhibitions

Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2014 Mike Nelson: Amnesiac Hide, The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada (31 January -19 May)
2013 Mike Nelson: Amnesiac Hide, CAG, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
2013 More things (To the memory of Honoré de Balzac), Matt's Gallery, London; M6, Eastside Projects, Birmingham [with publication]
2012 space that saw (platform for a performance in two parts), neugerriemschneider, Berlin [with
publication]
2012 408 tons of imperfect geometry, Malmö Konsthall, Sweden
2012 The Ebb Tide * An Invocation **, curated exhibition from Archive of Modern Conflict, at Sussex University
2011 54th Venice Biennale, British Pavilion, Venice [with publication]
2010 Quiver of Arrows, 303 Gallery, New York
2012 The Coral Reef, Tate Britain, London (installed as part of the Tate Collection, until Autumn 2011)[with publication]
2009 Triptych, The Paradise [33], The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin
2009 The caves of misplaced geometry, Galleria Franco Noero, Turin
2009 Kristus och Judas: A Structural Conceit (a performance in three parts), part of Reality Check, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen Denmark [with publication]
2008 Le Cannibal (parody, consumption and institutional critique), Villa Arson, Nice France
2007 A Psychic Vacuum, Creative Time, New York, USA [with publication]
2006 Lonely Planet, ACCA, Melbourne, Australia
2006 AMNESIAC SHRINE or Double coop displacement, Matt's Gallery, London
2006 After Kerouac (curated by Jacob Fabricius) Centre d'Art Santa Monica, Barcelona [with publication]
2005 Spanning Fort Road and Mansion Street - Between a formula and a code, Turner Contemporary, Margate [with publication]
2005 Agent Dickson at the Red Star Hotel, British School at Rome, Rome
2005 Studio apparatus for Mamco - an intermediate structure for a museum: introduction; building transplant in three sections; towards a revisiting of futurobjectics (as Voodoo shrine); mysterious island, MAMCO, Geneva [with publication]
2004 Triple Bluff Canyon, Modern Art Oxford [with publication]
2001 Nothing is True. Everything is Permitted. Institute of Contemporary Art, London [publication: A Forgotten Kingdom]
2001 The Deliverance and The Patience, Peer Commission for the 2001 Venice Biennale, off-site project at The Old Brewery, Giudecca

Recent Group Exhibitions:
2014 Private Utopia: Contemporary Art from the British Council Collection, Tokyo, Okayama, Kochi, Itami
2013 Focal Point Gallery, Southend
2013 Folk Devil, David Zwirner
2013 Rennie Collection, Vancouver, Canada
2013 Arts Council Collection, European Commission, London (forthcoming)
2012 Double Take, 2nd Mardin Biennial, Mardin Turkey
2012 Art Unlimited, solo presentation of After Kerouac at Art 43 Basel
2011 September 11, curated by Peter Eleey, PS1, New York
2011 Outrageous Fortune, Hayward Touring Exhibition curated by Andrew Hunt, Focal Point Gallery, Southend
2011 EROI (Heroes), curated by Danilo Eccher, GAM Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Turin Italy
2011 Open House, Singapore Biennale 2011, Singapore
2011 Never The Same River (Possible Futures, Probable Pasts), Camden Arts Centre, London
2010 CRASH: Homage to JG Ballard, Gagosian Gallery, London
2010 The Hand, Works Projects, Bristol
2009 Altermodern: Tate Triennial 2009, Tate Britain, London [with publication]
2009 Journey With No Return, Akbank Cultural Centre, Istanbul
2008 Psycho Buildings, Hayward Gallery, London
2008 Eclipse: Art in a Dark Age, Moderna Museet, Stockholm Sweden
2008 Reality Check, Staten Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark [with publication]
2008 You Dig the Tunnel, I'll Hide the Soil, WhiteCube, Hoxton Square and Shoreditch Town Hall, London
2008 Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art, Barbican, London
2008 Print the Legend, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh
2008 Of this tale I cannot guarantee a single word, Royal College of Art, London
2008 A show of many parts, each part more spectacular and elaborate than the last, The City Gallery, Leicester
2007 AMNESIAC SHRINE or The misplacement (a futurological fable): mirrored cubes – inverted –with the reflection of an inner psyche as represented by a metaphorical landscape, Turner Prize, Tate Liverpool
2007 The Pumpkin Palace, Basel Art Fair
2007 Breaking Step - Displacement, Compassion and Humour in Recent British Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia.

Grants, funding and awards

  • 2013Artist residency (Visual Arts programme) The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada
  • 2007Shortlisted for the Turner Prize, Tate Liverpool
  • 2001Shortlisted for the Turner Prize, Tate Britain
  • 2001Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award

Research groups & programmes

Research supervision

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Cloak (installation view), 2016. Noveau Musee National de Monaco, Monaco. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano.
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Studio apparatus for Kunsthalle Münster (installation view), 2014. Kunsthalle Münster, Germany. Photo: Thomas Wrede.
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Installation view, I IMPOSTOR, 54th International Art Exhibition, British Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 1 June - 27 November 2011.
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Installation view 408 tons of imperfect geometry, Malmo Konsthall, Malmo, Sweden, 18 August – 21 October 2012
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Installation image Space that Saw (platform for a performance in two parts), Neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Germany, 15 September - 13 October 2012