Mike Nelson


My work has centred on the transformation of narrative structure to spatial structure, and on the objects placed within them, immersing the viewer and agitating their perception of these environments. I have exhibited widely across the world, including the recent solo exhibitions and projects: Extinction Beckons, Hayward Gallery, London (2023); The Book of Spells, (a speculative fiction), Matt's Gallery, London (2022); The House of the Farmer, Palazzo dell'agricoltore, Parma (2021); The Asset Strippers, Tate Britain Commission, London (2019); L'Atteso, Officine Grandi Riparazioni (OGR), Turin (2018); Cloak of rags (Tale of a dismembered bank, rendered in blue), Galleria Franco Noero, Turin (2017); tools that see (possessions of a thief) 1985-2005, neugerriemschneider, Berlin (2016); Cloak, Noveau Musee National de Monaco, Monaco (2016); Imperfect geometry for a concrete quarry, Kalkbrottet, Limhamn, Malmö, Sweden (2016); Amnesiac Shrine or The Misplacement... Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2016); Gang of Seven, 303 Gallery, New York (2015); Studio apparatus for Kunsthalle Münster, Kunsthalle Münster (2014); Eighty Circles through Canada, Tramway, Glasgow (2014); Amnesiac Hide, The Powerplant, Toronto (2014); Amnesiac Hide, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2013); More things (To the memory of Honoré de Balzac), Matt's Gallery, London (2013); M6, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK (2013); space that saw (platform for a performance in two parts), neugerriemschneider, Berlin (2012); 408 tons of imperfect geometry, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden (2012).

I represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2011 and have been twice nominated for the Turner Prize (2001, 2007). I am represented by 303 Gallery, New York; Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Matt's Gallery, London; and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.

Academic responsibilities

Professor of Fine Art

Teaching and learning

Undergraduate courses taught

Postgraduate courses taught


The narratives I employ 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. The more discrete sculptural works are informed by this practice, often relying on their ambiguity to fade in and out of focus, as a sculpture or thing of meaning, and back to the very objects or material from which they are made. By working in this way the more overtly political aspects of the early works have become less didactic, allowing for an ambiguity of meaning, both in the way that they are experienced and understood. This has led to the possibility of the viewer being coerced into a state where the understanding of the varied structures of their existence, both conscious and sub-conscious, are made tangible.