Mike Nelson: Amnesiac Hide at the Power Plant Contemporary Gallery

The Power Plant presents the first solo exhibition in Toronto by the renowned British artist Mike Nelson, who is best known for his large-scale installations, in which visitors move through immersive spaces of his invention. The artist is creating new site-specific work that is dramatically transforming the gallery’s space to explore the ideas of travel, the road trip and the journey, themes that are at the heart of Mike Nelson: Amnesiac Hide.

The Power Plant opens the exhibition with a free opening party for all on Friday, January 31, 2014 from 8:00pm to 11:00pm, and the show continues through May 19, 2014.

Curated by Julia Paoli, the exhibition features three new works, two of which are part of the gallery’s Commissioning Program, which fosters, develops and premieres major new works by Canadian and international artists. The Power Plant boasts an impressive history of support for artists and the production of new work through this program. Nelson’s projects are no exception, reflecting international, national and local dialogues that reference Toronto in global conversations of contemporary art.

Amnesiac Hide comprises installations that appear as seemingly abandoned environments, yet imagining the unseen occupants of these spaces is central and specific to each viewer’s experience. Nelson is constructing a strange, yet not entirely unfamiliar atmosphere of desolation, abandonment and loss, connecting all gallery spaces by referencing the memory of his friend and collaborator Erlend Williamson, who fell to his death in 1996 whilst hiking in the Scottish Highlands. Included in this epic exhibition are commissioned works such as Gang of Seven (2013), a site-specific sculptural installation produced in partnership with the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. Referencing a fictional motorcycle gang, the installation is an extension of a serial project the artist is revisiting entitled The Amnesiacs.

The exhibition also includes the new photographic work Eighty Circles Through Canada (the last possessions of an Orcadian mountain man) (2013), and Double Negative (The Genie) (2014), another new site-specific installation produced specifically for the Power Plant. Here, Nelson is constructing an environment to resemble a rudimentary office setting, where photocopied pages from an unpublished travelogue recalling Williamson are enlarged and pasted to the walls, offering a deeper look into the artist’s practice.

Lastly, the Power Plant presents Nelson’s large-scale installation Quiver of Arrows (2010), constructed from four travel trailers, cut and joined together to form an enclosed, customized space that viewers may enter and explore. Given the work’s size and scope, The Power Plant had to modify one of its structural walls in order to accommodate the piece, distinguishing the gallery as only the second organization to ever be able to exhibit it.

Mike Nelson (born Loughborough, UK, 1967) lives and works in London. He was shortlisted for the Turner Prize (2007, 2001) and received a Paul Hamlyn Award (2001). He represented Britain at the 54th Venice Biennale and has recently received commissions from organizations including the National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen (2009), the Istanbul Biennial (2009) and Creative Time, New York (2007). Nelson has exhibited extensively across the globe and his work is included in numerous public and private collections. Nelson is represented by 303 Gallery, New York; Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Matt’s Gallery, London; and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.

Mike Nelson: Amnesiac Hide is accompanied by an illustrated exhibition catalogue published by Black Dog Publishing in collaboration with the Power Plant and the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. It includes essays by Dick Hebdige, Julia Paoli and Jenifer Papararo.