CHRIS FREMANTLE

What art have I seen? The Asset Strippers

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on July 16, 2019

Mike Nelson’s The Asset Strippers at Tate Britain transforms the Duveen Galleries into some part of Govan or Clydebank, Paisley or maybe East Kilbride.

The structuring of the dignified neoclassical spaces into a series of workshops, lacks only the suspended fluorescent lights to fully realise the conceit. The partitions’ materials, structures and even adornments are all evocative of industrial spaces across the UK.

The assemblages in the first space seem more ‘found’ whilst some in the rear spaces are more contrived or absurd and more poignant, particularly the giant diesel engine on a bed of sleeping bags.

It might be trite to say there’s poetry in the everyday of industry, but in truth you can find it easily.

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What art have I seen? Mike Nelson

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on January 8, 2015

Eighty Circles through Canada (the last possessions of an Orcadian mountain man), Mike Nelson’ show at Tramway in Glasgow. As an homage and as an exhibition it’s just right – very well judged. The two sides of the wall – one a sequence of slides of landscapes which you realise all feature a ring of stones, the remains of a camping fire; the other the remains of a life, some tubes of paint, some climbing equipment, a photo album, some clothes, old books, tapes of classical music, gridded out detritus.  Melancholy even without the back story.  But also somewhat humourous – you see rings of stones by rivers, in forests, burbling streams and with majestic mountains in the distance, and then you see one with a big rig going past – not all walks are in pristine wilderness.

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