Public talk: Mike Nelson

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The event will be held between: 17:00 - 19:00
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Mike Nelson

About the event

Celebrated British artist Mike Nelson will visit Falmouth University to give a talk about his practice, introduced by and in conversation with Jonty Lees, Course Leader, BA(Hons) Fine Art.

Mike Nelson’s work manifests itself in a very physical manner, encouraging us to enter and occupy a work of art. Often his structures are on such a large scale that we can inhabit them, a ploy he uses to encourage empathy or feeling in the viewer, inviting us to understand the work through all the senses. His practice is also very much underpinned by literary and filmic references; he uses the constructed worlds found in these sources to generate spatial structures that in turn suggest new narratives. Many of these narratives focus on belief systems and on the complex myriad of ideas within the structures of the societies evoked in the work.

This talk has been organised in partnership with CAST, to coincide with the 2024 edition of The Cornwall Workshop, which is led by Mike Nelson. The Cornwall Workshop is a week-long intensive residential workshop for artists, curators and writers based in Cornwall and the South West, organised by CAST and hosted at Kestle Barton on the Lizard peninsula.

Location: Falmouth Campus Lecture Theatre 1, TR11 4RH

Ticket cost: Free


Born in Loughborough (UK) in 1967, Mike Nelson lives and works in London. He came to prominence in the late 1990s, creating psychological environments by sifting through the debris of modern life. His work has centred on the translation of narrative structures into spatial structures, and the transformation of 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.

Nelson’s sculptural works allow ambiguity of meaning in the way that they are experienced and understood. The viewer is invited into a state of being in which the varied structures of their own existence, both conscious and sub-conscious, are made tangible.

Nelson represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2011 and has twice been nominated for the Turner Prize (2001 and 2007). His critically acclaimed survey show, Extinction Beckons, at the Hayward Gallery (2023) included sculptural works and new versions of key large-scale installations from the 1990s onwards, many shown for the first time since their original presentations.

Mike Nelson is represented by 303 Gallery, New York; Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Matt’s Gallery, London and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.