Friday 17 February 2023
Mike Nelson features in The Guardian
The Guardian has written a feature on represented artist Mike Nelson ahead of his solo show at the Hayward Gallery.
The article includes a section on 'The Book of Spells (a speculative fiction)' at Matt's Gallery:
A few days after we speak, I go to see The Book of Spells, an installation by Nelson that he made in a single room of a terraced house for Matt’s Gallery in London. It was briefly open during the pandemic, and will be so again this spring alongside the Hayward show. There’s a single iron bed frame covered over with a Turkish textile, and a sash window, boarded up from the outside. The room is lined with shelves which are covered in travel books – Lonely Planets, Rough Guides, the occasional Blue or AA guide. Some of them are duplicates; it feels as though an obsessive, perhaps desperate mind has put together this collection. They immediately put you out of time, these books. They were once such a touchstone of travel and adventure, and are now obsolescent in the face of the internet. Each marks a moment of history that in many cases is now unreachable: you won’t be holidaying in Moscow any time soon, nor in Aleppo. The room is tiny, claustrophobic, and there’s a strong reminder of the confinement wrought by Covid-19, but at the same time it feels like some kind of unwritten short story. (It reminds me, in fact, of Borges’ The Aleph, in which the narrator encounters, in a cellar beneath a bourgeois Buenos Aires dining room, a device from which it is possible to see every other point on Earth). It is intensely simple in its way and yet heavy with layers of association, and immensely eerie. Like all Nelson’s work, it creates a place and offers an invitation. The rest is up to you.
'The Book of Spells' is open at Matt's Gallery, Bermondsey from 24 February - 23 April, Friday - Sunday, 12 - 6PM, 92 Webster Road, SE16 4DF.
'Mike Nelson: Extinction Beckons' is open from 22 February to 7 May at the Hayward Gallery.