Talk

  • Mike Nelson, 'The Asset Strippers', 2019. Installation view, Tate Britain, London, 2019. Courtesy the artist and 303 Gallery, New York; Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Matt’s Gallery, London; and neugerriemschneider, Berlin

Mike Nelson in Conversation with Caitlin DeSilvey

CANCELLED – Mike Nelson’s recent commission for Tate Britain The Asset Strippers transformed the grand spaces of the Duveen Galleries into something between a sculpture court and a warehouse of salvaged machinery. After scouring online auctions of company liquidators and salvage yards he carefully selected objects from the industries of post-war Britain to construct his exhibition. Nelson’s work was informed by the Duveen Galleries’ origins in 1937 as the first purpose-built sculpture galleries in England; The Asset Strippers transformed these spaces into a warehouse of monumental sculptures evoking a lost era.

This event will examine in depth the many aspects of this ambitious and complex work, its relationship with the history of twentieth-century sculpture and with Britain’s industrial past. 

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 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. His 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. 

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

Caitlin DeSilvey is Professor of Cultural Geography at the University of Exeter and Academic Director of Arts & Culture for the University’s Cornwall Campuses. Her research explores the cultural significance of material transformation, decay, repair and maintenance. She frequently collaborates with artists on a range of transdisciplinary projects and is also a studio holder at CAST.

This event is presented at CAST with support from Arts and Culture, University of Exeter.