Frieze Foundation

Frieze Projects 2006

Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson

MAGAZIN, Büyük Valide Han
2003
Found space with constructed darkroom, various media
including photographs
Installation view, Büyük Valide Han, Istanbul Biennial
Courtesy the artist and Matt’s Gallery

Mike Nelson
Mirror Infill

‘There is an expectation of criticality built into the invitation to produce a project for an art fair, one that is in itself disempowering. As a phenomenon the art fair is interesting — things are taken from their habitats, displayed and jumbled in a new purpose-built home to be consumed in every sense and elevated to another tier of mythology. It was a long time before I could think of an appropriate work, something which both adored and abhorred in equal parts, to become as a mirror held up and to expand the vacuum beyond. There also seemed to be an urgency to the project, as if there was a limited period in which outdated darkroom technology could speak of memory and reflection without being quaint. Turning to confront the unseen beast that tracks us, we are left to look and decide whether the recognition of this apparition is reassuring or frightening.’

Mike Nelson, July 2006

For Frieze Projects Mike Nelson presented a site-specific, immersive installation that, as in past projects, functioned as a physically and psychologically parallel environment to that in which it was installed. Constructed behind working gallery booths, a labyrinthine series of rooms revealed an industrious underbelly and a documentary fiction — a structural and conceptual counterpoint to the hiss and fizz of the fair. In a deserted darkroom, photographs — both evidence and artwork — detailed the daily transformation of the location from building site to smoothly running art fair. The construction of the room created an atmosphere of being ‘elsewhere’ in an environment where so much attention is paid to euphoric display.

Mike Nelson (b. 1967) is a British artist based in London. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Amnesiac Shrine’, Matt’s Gallery, London (2006), ‘Studio Apparatus for MAMCO’, MAMCO, Geneva (2005) and ‘Triple Bluff Canyon’, Modern Art Oxford (2004). Nelson has presented major installations at the São Paulo Biennial (2004), at the Istanbul Biennal (2003) and at the Venice Biennale (2001). Nelson was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2001.

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