Mike Nelson's labyrinthine installations, made of interconnecting corridors and chambers, are intentionally disorientating. In his new work for the Turner Prize, the corridors contain peepholes through which we spy four, mirrored rooms. Each offers the same illusory vista of desert sand dunes and infinitely reflecting lights. Nelson talks about this and other projects.
When you approach the work you will go into one reception type area and then through into the sort of like the corridors where you will be drawn to a hole in the wall through which you will look and you will see this mirrored desert so in a sense this landscape mirrors to infinity. When you walk around you will just be met by the same scene in each cube. Everybody likes to sort of trespass into spaces they are not meant to go into somehow and that sort of curiosity of what lays beyond a door, or down a corridor, its quite strong in many people I think and I think that sense of you almost forget that you know I am in an art gallery I am looking at art kind of I have to think about it in a certain way, I have to be sort of like its sometimes lost when you are in those you know replicated spaces. So the larger more sort of like you know a labyrinth I am going to build set like works you become the sort of the player in your body and movement I suppose activates and decisions within those spaces activates the work itself and in that sense I think you actually start to forget you are looking at art sometimes. I suppose I have described it before as being almost like when you read a book and you know so you read some Petticoat Bryant book in this high season if you are into that and then sort of like suddenly you are in your armchair but you are on the high seas in whichever century its set in sort of and if you agree to sort of like go along with that fiction then you know you do somehow and you are transported and I think that the more successful large labyrinth ones which try to equate literary or narrative space or structure into a spacial structure, that can happen with people. Obviously these really huge ones I build and then they are demolished so there is a huge amount…often it takes longer to build them then they are actually up for so which is slightly kind of perverse ultimately but then you know if its done in a very visible place and many people visit and you know obviously the memories of that work has dispersed all around the place and you know I still have people who actually sort of describe spaces that they thought they had been in which were mine which weren’t because their memories somehow has annexed sort of their own experience into the experience of going into one of the round spaces which is kind of a success I think of sorts. In every work I have made every piece of wood that you can see and every object has been sourced and found you know by me, you know, I don’t send a load of people out in vans to go and collect it and you say I want a bunch of this and a bunch of that, I kind of wander around to the salvage yards and to the markets and you know find it and you know make sure that that’s what I want for that particular space or place. Its an interesting life but even though most…half the time I spend it as a builder but well I look like a builder and I behave like a builder sort of to some degree but ultimately sort of my head doesn’t know that, my head is somewhere else.