November 18, 2018 - Officine Grandi Riparazioni - Mike Nelson: L'Atteso
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November 18, 2018

Officine Grandi Riparazioni

Mike Nelson, L'Atteso. Courtesy the Artist.

Mike Nelson
L'Atteso
November 1, 2018–February 3, 2019

Officine Grandi Riparazioni
Corso Castelfidardo, 22
10138 Turin
Italy

www.ogrtorino.it
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Mike Nelson
L'Atteso
November 1, 2018–February 3, 2019

Officine Grandi Riparazioni
Corso Castelfidardo, 22
10138 Turin
Italy

www.ogrtorino.it
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Curated by Samuele Piazza


There be those who say that things and places have souls, and there be those who say they have not; I dare not say, myself
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Street, 1920

L'Atteso (The Expected), Mike Nelson's first solo exhibition in an Italian institution, transforms the OGR into a "different place" thanks to a large-scale installation that occupies the entire hall of Binario 1 with a powerful intervention.

The first work is a small sculpture from 2013: Untitled (intimate sculpture for a public space). An ordinary looking sleeping bag lies on the floor, boxed in a plexiglass vitrine like an object for reverence, or a shrine. A coin slot in the top of the case transforms it into a donation box, opening up the reading to wider issues within society. The work was made in memory of a friend and collaborator, Erlend Williamson, an artist and passionate climber who died while climbing in the Scottish Highlands over twenty years ago. It is his sleeping bag that occupies the case.

The sculpture, with its intimate and discreet presence seems to be at odds with the scale of the work beyond and yet the two have many themes in common, preparing for the possible readings of the vast floor made from architectural debris and contained, vitrine-like, by the glass wall that demarcates the exhibition space.

A large, ambiguous wooden construction, looking like either a billboard hoarding or the screen for a drive-in cinema divides the exhibition space. This second reading is encouraged by the presence of numerous parked cars facing the screen-like front of the structure. The space is dimly lit and the dusty cars emit a sense of abandonment but appear to offer no explanation for their presence. The memories of their previous owners, both real and constructed, are conjured through the patina of these banal objects mixed with subtle interventions and the manipulation of lighting. The immersive nature of this work evokes a suspension of space and time that encourages thoughts of the existential.

A disparate narrative structure emerges which connects to the history of the building, while the everyday objects, carefully selected by the artist, are transformed into sculpture. The resulting landscape is akin to the earth’s surface it alludes to, a metaphorical stratification of meaning whose fissures lead to many possible levels of reading, a dreamlike journey akin to science fiction. Ultimately a conclusive understanding is purposefully denied and avoided, drawing the viewer into the voids that these possible dead ends suggest.

As the title suggests, a suspended and enigmatic atmosphere marks the installation, formed by a vision redolent of imagery from film, a confused dreamlike recollection that aggravates memory both personal and shared. Among the many themes present is transience, the idea of real and metaphorical journeys, which provides a sort of fil rouge though the work.

L'Atteso brings together different sources of inspiration in a continued game of cross-references in which various suggestions expand and contradict themselves: the layer of debris that covers the floor on which visitors walk recalls Land Art interventions, such as the Earth Room of Walter De Maria, yet here the ground of the installation is transformed into a dirt filled parking lot, in which the remains of old buildings, fragments of tiles or waste materials are clearly visible.

Different temporalities seem to collide within the installation: a recent past re-examined in an almost archaeological way, a dystopian present or a potential vision of the near future. Modern cars are combined with the idea of precariousness that the rubble conveys, suggesting in different timelines a recent demolition, an in-progress apocalypse and a potential reconstruction.

Once again Nelson radically transforms a site, manipulating our perception of space and creating an atmosphere of expectation and suspension; recalling great masters of cinema such as Michelangelo Antonioni and Dario Argento, and artists including Ed Kienholz, to create a physical and emotional limbo filled with curiosity and complexity.


Officine Grandi Riparazioni is a cultural production and interdisciplinary experimentation center, stretching over 20.000 square meters, that opened in Turin, Italy September 30, 2017. OGR has hosted exhibitions and site-specific projects by William Kentridge, Liam Gillick, Tino Sehgal, Susan Hiller, among many others. OGR's 2019 program will present solo shows by Ari Benjamin Meyers, Pablo Bronstein, Monica Bonvicini, the Biennale of Moving Images (Geneva) and an exhibition curated by Castello di Rivoli.

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