Re-bar, wire-mesh, cross-hatch (Romanian heroes)
sandwich / BUCHAREST (Romania)
05.10.2017 – 29.01.2018
Mike Nelson’s work has centered 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 not teleological, but 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.
For Sandwich, Mike created an intervention that both mimics and immerses itself into the building and site's history. To do this, he has used elements from the vicinity and articulated them within a purpose-built structure whose trap-like appearance aggravates the ambiguity of the objects it holds. Various plaster sculptures, most of which represent heroic figures from Romanian history, that have been abandoned for decades in the storage units around Sandwich, are now on display again, cleaned-up and proud, looking you in the eye, but as unapproachable as ever. The installation is to be walked on, narrowly entered in, looked through, cautiously touched. It covers up all the space, while not concealing any of it. There is no direct light staged – visitors are to rely on their own sense of direction.
The show marks the return of Mike Nelson to Bucharest after a period of twenty years, the three-month period spent here then was both a formative and productive period that laid the foundations for many of his subsequent works. The artist, who represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2011 (with the project I, IMPOSTOR ), had been, in 1996, on a residency with the European organization Pepinières, at the Art Academy in Bucharest. On this occasion, besides getting in contact with the local art scene, he presented the solo show No can Teach A Dog Old Tricks New at the Gallery of the Arts University.