Mike Nelson: L’Atteso
Curated by Samuele Piazza
There be those who say that things and places have souls, and there be those who say they have not; I dare not say, myself
L’Atteso, Mike Nelson’s first solo exhibition in an Italian institution, transforms the OGR into a “different place” thanks to a large-scale installation that occupies the entire hall of Binario 1 with a powerful intervention.
The first work you encounter is an older small sculpture: Untitled (intimate sculpture for a public space) (2013), in the foyer of the Officine Nord. The sculpture, with its intimate and discreet presence seems to be at odds with the scale of the work beyond and yet the two have many themes in common, preparing you for the possible readings of this vast floor made from crushed buildings and contained, vitrine-like by the glass wall that demarcates the exhibition space of Binario 1.
The space beyond is dimly lit and the dusty cars emit a sense of abandonment but appear to offer no explanation. The memories of their previous owners, both real and constructed are conjured through the patina of these banal objects mixed with the occassional intervention and manipulation of lighting. The immersive nature of this work evokes a spatial and temporal suspension that encourages thoughts of the existential.
A disparate narrative structure emerges in relation to the history of the building, while the everday objects carefully selected by the artist, are transformed into sculpture. The resultant landscape is akin to the earths surface it alludes to, a metaphorical stratification of meaning whose fissures lead to many possible levels of reading, a dreamlike journey akin to science fiction. Ultimately a conclusive understanding is purposefully denied and avoided, drawing the viewer into the voids that these possible dead ends suggest. Visitors are invited to navigate their own personal path to build an individual narrative tied to their own understanding of the site.
L’Atteso brings together different sources of inspiration in a continued game of cross-references in which various suggestions expand and contradict themselves. Different temporalities seem to collide within the installation: a recent past re-examined in an almost archaeological way, a potential vision of the near future or a dystopian present.
Link to exhibition page: https://www.ogrtorino.it/en/events/mike-nelson