Sensory Spaces 8 – Mike Nelson

Sensory Spaces 8 – Mike Nelson

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Mike Nelson, from the series “Amnesiac Shrine,” 2007.

December 3, 2015

Sensory Spaces 8 – Mike Nelson
13 February–5 June 2016

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 
Museumpark 18-20 
NL-3015 CX Rotterdam 
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm

Sensory Spaces is a series of solo exhibitions by leading international artists—in situ projects that subvert or sharpen the visitor’s experience of a given space. Sensory Spaces challenges the artists to start from the specific features of the exhibition space itself. The Willem van der Vorm Gallery, a vast space open on its two short sides in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s freely accessible foyer, is the spatial context to which each artist is asked to respond.

The British artist Mike Nelson (b. 1967, Loughborough) has been invited for the eighth edition of Sensory Spaces. Nelson creates immersive environments that evade linear temporality and impact as physically and emotionally disruptive. The preoccupation with scale and the participatory engagement of the visitors overcome categorizations, defining an experience located in an area of tension between what can and what cannot be defined as art. For Sensory Spaces 8, Mike Nelson revisits “Amnesiac Shrine,” a set of successive artworks conceived as a category in its own right, more than simply a series. Ordinary time and fictional time are aligned, testing the former’s regularity against the viewer’s experience. A recurrence of multiple visual reflections, illusions and flashbacks creates fundamental elements that demand to be completed with the baggage of personal experience. 

As the artist himself explained, “‘The Amnesiacs’ was a body of work made in the mid-’90s at the very beginning of my interest in Soviet science fiction. I had come across Stanisław Lem and Arkady and Boris Strugatsky through an essay on how science fiction was used in the Soviet Union to bypass the censors and write intelligently about the human condition. This idea spawned quite a lot of work. Travelling on a train from Bucharest to Budapest, I wrote a proposal for a residency series based on a Ballardian beachcomber, a loner who interacts with the ocean. I was using the idea in Lem’s Solaris, which was made into a film by Tarkovsky, that debris from the sea is thrown up on beaches across all the continents of the world. A biker gang, the Amnesiacs, spend their time picking this stuff up because it is encoded into a language, and they’re trying to make sense of it. I was dumbing-down the science-fiction genre to the biker genre of the early ’70s. The rural North of England was the perfect place for bikers, so I invented the Amnesiacs. It was a complicated work in that it was very much about loss, and I ran with it for a couple of years. Then, eight years after the Amnesiacs last appeared, I brought them back to help me build shrines. They were built the way a voodoo shrine might be made; you’d take objects from everyday life and place them upon the shrine. So a kitchen bowl might become a receptacle for ceremonial blood, or a cigarette might become an offering to the gods. These were different, though, in that they were half-remembered devices or motifs taken from other artists. One was called Double Coop Displacement, 2006, which was a big double steel cage, like a Nauman piece but built by Paul Thek.”

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

The Sensory Spaces series
Sensory Spaces 8 – Mike Nelson
13 February–5 June 2016

Sensory Spaces 7 – Aleksandra Domanović
Until 31 January 2016

Sensory Spaces 6 – Sara VanDerBeek
Sensory Spaces 5 – Siobhan Hápaska
Sensory Spaces 4 – Liu Wei
Sensory Spaces 3 – Elad Lassry 
Sensory Spaces 2 – Sabine Hornig 
Sensory Spaces 1 – Oscar Tuazon

The Sensory Spaces Series is made possible by the generous support of AMMODO.

For more information please contact the Marketing and Communications Department: 
T +31 0 10 441 9561 /

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents Sensory Spaces 8 – Mike Nelson
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Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
December 3, 2015

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