Press Release

Mike Nelson to create Tate Britain Commission 2019

19 March – 6 October 2019

Mike Nelson Studio apparatus for Kunsthalle Münster 2014 Photo: Thomas Wrede. © Mike Nelson. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Matt's Gallery, London; 303 Gallery, New York and neugerriemschneider, Berlin

Mike Nelson will be the next artist to take on the Tate Britain Commission 2019. Unveiled on 18 March 2019, the annual commission invites artists to make a work in response to the unique architecture and history of the neo-classical Duveen Galleries at the heart of Tate Britain. Artists who have previously undertaken the Commission include Anthea Hamilton (2018), Cerith Wyn Evans (2017) and Pablo Bronstein (2016). The series builds on a long tradition of sculpture exhibitions in the prestigious Duveen Galleries, which has included memorable installations by Richard Long, Rebecca Horn, Richard Serra and Luciano Fabro.

Mike Nelson constructs large-scale, site specific sculptural environments that often arise from a period of living and working in a particular location. His works fuse literary, filmic, socio-political and cultural references to create carefully orchestrated tableaux. For example, The Coral Reef 2000 (Tate Collection) lures the viewer through a labyrinth of abandoned, interconnected rooms. Individual narratives and cultural histories unfold through the different objects that occupy these spaces: an empty sleeping bag, a calendar in Arabic, a wall hanging of JFK, a clown mask.

Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain, said: “We are delighted that Mike Nelson will undertake the next Tate Britain Commission. Nelson has made a profound contribution to British and International Art and his ability to create extraordinary and unforgettable experiences within the gallery makes him the perfect choice for the Tate Britain commission. We are excited to see how he will transform this unique space in 2019.”

Mike Nelson was born in Loughborough in 1967. He studied at Reading University from 1986-90 and went on to complete an MA in Sculpture at Chelsea College of Art & Design, London, in 1992-3. Nelson has exhibited widely across the world, most recently at the OGR - Officine Grandi Riparazioni, Turin, 2018 and Gwangju Biennale, 2018. He represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2011 and has twice been nominated for the Turner Prize (2001 & 2007). He became a Royal Academician in 2013 and in 2018 was awarded the Wollaston Award.

Tate Britain Commission 2019: Mike Nelson is curated by Clarrie Wallis, Senior Curator of Contemporary British Art, Tate, and Elsa Coustou, Assistant Curator of Contemporary British Art, Tate.


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The Tate Britain Commission 2019: Mike Nelson is the latest in a series of contemporary commissions for artists to develop a new work in the Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries. Artists who have previously undertaken commissions in the Duveens at Tate Britain include Anthea Hamilton (2018), Cerith Wyn Evans (2017), Pablo Bronstein (2016), Christina Mackie (2015), Phyllida Barlow (2014), Simon Starling (2013), Patrick Keiller (2012), Fiona Banner (2010), Eva Rothschild (2009), Martin Creed (2008), Mark Wallinger (2007), Michael Landy (2004), Anya Gallaccio (2002) and Mona Hatoum (2000).