Mike Nelson: I, Impostor. British Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2011

Mike Nelson’s work “I, Impostor” is probably one of the most complex and costly presentations at the 54th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia in Venice, Italy. The new work of the British installation artist Mike Nelson is a large-scale sculptural installation that leads the visitor through a dark labyrinth-like structure. Mike Nelson has already exhibited in Venice, his work “The Deliverance and the Patience” was shown as part of the collateral program at the 49th edition of the Venice Biennale in 2001.

For his exhibition at the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2011, Mike Nelson refers to the work “Magazin: Büyük Valide Han” that he created for the 8th International Istanbul Biennial in 2003. Nelson has relocated and re-worked this earlier installation for Venice, thus creating a link between the two cities Istanbul and Venice, both former great mercantile centers of the east-west/west-east axes.

Since 1938 the British Council has been responsible for the British Pavilion in Venice. Commissioner for the British Pavilion 2011 is Andrea Rose, the Curator is Richard Riley.

Mike Nelson: I, Impostor. British Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2011. Preview, June 3, 2011.

See also: Mike Nelson: Psychic Vaccum / Old Essex Market, Lower East Side, NYC / Remix.

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Photo set:
Mike Nelson: I, Impostor

Press Release:


Mike Nelson is the first installation artist to be invited to conceive and create a new work in the British Pavilion for the 54th Venice Biennale. Nelson will be working in Venice for a period of three months and the completed work will be launched during the official Biennale press days on 1st , 2nd and 3rd June, and open to the public for the duration of the exhibition from 4th June – 27th November 2011.

“The attention to detail, historical accuracy and physical nature of Mike Nelson’s sculptural practice guarantee that his new installation for the British Pavilion will be one of the most challenging solo presentations ever mounted in over 70 years of exhibitions organised by the British Council in Venice.” Richard Riley, Curator of the British Pavilion, 2011

As the UK’s leading cultural relations organisation, the British Council has been responsible for the presentation of the exhibition at the British Pavilion for the Venice Biennale of Art since 1938. During this period the Pavilion has hosted exhibitions by many of the most significant artists of the day, providing successive generations with one of the most important platforms for the showcasing of contemporary art to an international audience.

Born in Loughborough in 1967, Mike Nelson has already received considerable international acclaim for his meticulous installations and his work has been presented in major group and solo exhibitions throughout the world. These include: The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2001); 49th Venice Biennale (2001); 13th Sydney Biennale (2002); CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco (2002); 8th International Istanbul Biennial (2003); Modern Art Oxford (2004); 26th São Paulo Bienal (2004); Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (2008); Creative Time, New York (2008); Tate Triennial (2009); and 3rd Singapore Biennial (2011).

A recipient of a Paul Hamlyn Award in 2001, Nelson has twice been short-listed for the Turner Prize. One of his large-scale installations, The Coral Reef, originally conceived for Matt’s Gallery, London in 2000, was acquired by Tate in 2008 and is currently on show as part of the Collection Displays at Tate Britain, London.

Mike Nelson lives and works in London. He is represented in the UK by Matt’s Gallery, London, and internationally by Galleria Franco Noero, Turin, and 303 Gallery, New York.

The UK’s presentation at the Venice Biennale is selected by a panel of arts experts drawn from across the UK. The members of this panel change for every edition of the Biennale. For the 2011 Venice Biennale, the Selection Committee consisted of: Rachel Campbell-Johnson, Art Critic, The Times ; Christoph Grunenberg, Director Tate Liverpool ; Nav Haq, Curator, Arnolfini, Bristol ; Keith Hartley, Senior Curator, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh ; Hugh Mulholland, Director, The Third Space Gallery, Belfast ; Karen McKinnon, Curator, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea ; Richard Riley, Head of Exhibitions, Visual Arts, British Council ; Ralph Rugoff, Director, Hayward Gallery, London ; Godfrey Worsdale, Director, BALTIC, Gateshead; Chair: Andrea Rose, Director of Visual Arts, British Council.


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