Mike Nelson's "I, Imposter" Draws Record Crowds at Venice Biennale

British artist Mike Nelson is known for his discomfiting installations that typically leave viewers disoriented and evoke all manner of literary, historic, artistic and cinematic references.

For his daring, epic-scaled "I, Imposter" at this year's Venice Biennale, Nelson spent nearly three months in the city transforming the neoclassical British Pavilion in the Giardini into an architectural mirror of a work he first created for the 2003 Istanbul Biennial, to underscore the links between these two historically great mercantile centers.

His work has been drawing marathon crowds since it opened and has been called "one of the most challenging solo presentations" ever housed in its pavilion by the British Council.

Miami artist Antonia Wright, who is in Venice along with Ruben Millares, and has been reporting on her views of the Biennale, describes her reactions to Nelson's work during a recent visit.  

Mike Nelson's "I, IMPOSTOR"
Mike Nelson's "I, IMPOSTOR"
Antonia Wright

Antonia Wright
Mike Nelson's "I, IMPOSTOR"

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"Nelson's piece is a large-scale sculptural installation that encompasses the entire building making the original pavilion unrecognizable. Viewers walk from to room, through small doors, up narrow stairs, around tight corners in a Kafka-esque story," Wright explains.

 

Mike Nelson's "I, IMPOSTOR" Installation View
Mike Nelson's "I, IMPOSTOR" Installation View
Antonia Wright
Mike Nelson's "I, IMPOSTOR" Installation Detail
Mike Nelson's "I, IMPOSTOR" Installation Detail
Antonia Wright

"Ruins remain of the people who lived there. Minor details are scattered throughout as clues left for the viewer such as a darkroom, looms, broken chandeliers, etc. Transcending is a word I would use to describe this architectural intervention," she says.

 

Mike Nelson's "I, IMPOSTOR" Courtyard View
Mike Nelson's "I, IMPOSTOR" Courtyard View
Antonia Wright

Antonia Wright
Mike Nelson's "I, IMPOSTOR" Courtyard View

"The artist built this courtyard, which is the last room of the maze. After reaching this point, you turn around and retrace your foots steps to the exit. It took the artist 13 weeks to construct this piece. It is pretty impressive," Wright adds.


You can read Wright and Millares's other Venice posts here and here.


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