Don’t Miss – New York: Mike Nelson at 303 Gallery, through April 10

April 7th, 2010

Quiver of Arrows
, 2010 by Mike Nelson    All images via 303 Gallery unless otherwise noted

Currently on view at 303 Gallery at 547 W 21 Street, New York is the exhibition of new works by a contemporary British installation artist Mike Nelson. Quiver of Arrows, an installation constructed of  four travel trailers from 1939- 1969 that form Nelson’s   extended labyrinths,  is the artist’s first solo show in the United States.

Video of the Installation via Art Observed

More texts, images and links after the jump…

Fragment of the installation

The trailers are placed nose to tail in a square formation,  forming a small enclosure within. The viewer will be able to navigate the structure by walking through the work, as the trailers have been customized in such a way as to allow passage from one into another. An assortment of objects of everyday use left behind by unidentified inhabitants infuse the work with the feeling of nostalgia and turns it , as the artist himslef puts it, into ” a fake ready-made”.  As Alex Garthenfiled argues in his article for “Art in America”, Nelson’s installation “examines the experience of spatial compression as a metahpor for inhabiting the America Dream today”.

Fragment of the installation

For this specific installation, Nelson turned the gallery space into a courtyard filled with other antique trailers that the artist calls “the coral.”  Combined with the strong cinnamon smell that Nelson associates with nostalgia and abandonment, the whole installation represents the artist’s rumination of the insularity of the American continent. As he puts it: America is  a huge continent, which encourages that insularity but there is insularity within the culture, self-obsession.

Fragment of the installation

Fragment of the installation

Born in  Loughborough, England in 1967, Mike Nelson lives and works in London. The artist holds degrees from Chelsea College of Art & Design (MA Sculpture) and from Reading University ( BA, Fine Art). Mike Nelson has exhibited internationally since 1994, including solo shows at Statens Museum fur Kunst, Copenhagen; Villa Arson, Nice; Institute of Contemporary Art, London; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Geneva; Centre d’Art Santa Monica, Barcelona; Camden Art Centre, London; California College of the Arts, San Francisco; and the Australian Center for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Nelson has presented major works at recent biennials in Venice (2001), Sydney (2002), Istanbul (2003), and Sao Paolo (2004). The artist was twice nominated for the Turner Prize. In 2011, Nelson will represent Great Britain at the Venice Bienalle.

Relevant Links:
Exhibition web-page [ 303 Gallery]
Artifacts | Mike Nelson’s Trailer Trash [NY Times]
Review of the exhibition [Time Out New York]
Mike Nelson’s America Is Unhitched [Art in America]
Artist Mike Nelson: from cannabis to caravans [Guardian]