Mike Nelson

12 June 2015
Mike Nelson, 'Amnezi Skalk Kask (2012)', helmet, wood and bones

Manchester Art Gallery

Mike Nelson is based in London, UK. Recent solo exhibitions include Eighty Circles through Canada, Tramway, Glasgow (2014); Studio apparatus for Kunsthalle Münster, Kunsthalle Münster, Germany (2014); Amnesiac Hide, The Power Plant, Toronto (2014); 408 tons of imperfect geometry, Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (2012). Nelson was nominated for the Turner Prize twice (2001 and 2007) and represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2011

Amnezi Skalk Kask (2012) is part of a serial work produced since the mid-1990s, for which Nelson invented a fictional gang of nomadic outsiders, The Amnesiacs. Members of this late-twentieth-century biker gang seem to have just left the spaces they inhabited, leaving behind these traces. Mixing personal history, religious iconography and art history, the Amnesiacs create new worlds and environments. They mix motifs and create shrines, co-opting everyday objects and elevating them to devotional status. The installations feature the residue of their creations including skull helmets and beach fires. The power of Amnezi Skalk Kask lies in the contradictions it encompasses – dichotomies of life and death, good versus evil, protection or harm. Amnezi Skalk Kask resonates with Manchester Art Gallery’s collection, which comprises a number of works featuring skulls and references to mortality, including Gabriel Orozco Path of Thought (1997), and Tony Oursler Crystal Skull (1999).

Mike Nelson’s work is also a significant addition to Manchester Art Gallery’s growing collection of international contemporary sculpture, including works by Haroon Mirza, Brian Griffiths, and Helen Marten, that were recently acquired through the Contemporary Art Society’s Sculpture Fund.

Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2015


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