Mike Nelson: The Asset Strippers, Tate Britain - FREE - ★★★★ - Until October 6, 2019


Tate Britain annually offers a commission for an artist to create new work for the historic Duveen Galleries, the first purpose-built sculpture galleries in England. Mike Nelson, who is known for his large immersive pieces, has given these iconic and elegant galleries the feel of a warehouse storing a variety of discarded machines. The exhibition not only makes us view the machine as sculpture; it also sets up a challenging dialogue with the galleries that house these pieces. The notion of art versus engineering is only part of the conversation stimulated by the installations. It also entails a reflection on class and history. The contrast between the world of this gallery funded in 1937 by its patron and the environment of the workers who created Britain's wealth is striking. The objects selected have an arresting beauty and speak eloquently of the lives of the people who used them. There is a melancholy, almost ominous, sense of history as these abandoned machines have become "assets" which no longer have any utility. Replaced and displaced by the movement of technology and the de-industrialisation of Britain, these engineering feats speak of the people whose lives were almost defined by their existence. They also mutely question the new world of work, politics and respect for human dignity that we are facing.

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until Oct 6, 2019
Daily: 10 am - 6 pm
Tate Britain, Duveen Galleries
Nearest tube: Pimlico
https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/mike-nelson

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