We round up the reviews for the latest exhibition to open at the Hayward Gallery.
The Guardian: *** “There is a degree of magical thinking and twisted logic in Nelson’s art. He throws us into the middle of things and compounds our difficulties, segues his own earlier works into new arrangements, juggles historical time periods, messes with our sense of orientation, brings us up short with camp fires whose flames are bits of plastic bunting, fills sleeping bags with rubble, appropriates old bits of industrial machinery and gives us too many details.”
The Observer: ***** “In the past, he often invoked the absence of some imaginary presence – surveillance photographers, Gulf war vets, prisoners, political thinkers. But the Hayward’s gigantic anthology feels far more like a journey through the singular and complex mind of the artist himself.”
Architects Journal.co.uk: “The most impressive and immersive piece here is the partial reconstruction of The Deliverance and The Patience – recast in one gallery as a long timber shack-like object, with random objects plied on top of it, seemingly thrown up there like the heaps of junk seen on barge roofs. This structure creaks satisfyingly as you wander around its maze of small rooms – some kitted out as decrepit minicab offices, others as two-bit travel agent receptions.”
Time Out: ***** “The whole show is genuinely brilliant. Overwhelming, sad, affecting. Nelson has combined all these previous works to make one giant new piece, and it’s so good. His dystopian, early-Ballardian environments invite you to build the narrative; they ask you to figure out what happened and what went wrong. He wants you to find answers, knowing full well that when you do all you will find is total, abject horror.”
The Arts Desk: **** “It’s all a bit too neat and tidy for a real junk yard, though; and my heart sank. Please don’t let this retrospective be a sanitised version of Nelson’s installations, because without the right degree of tackiness, they simply wouldn’t work. I needn’t have worried, though; from here on everything is pitch perfect.”
Evening Standard: “Nelson has characteristically treated this show as a creative opportunity. It reflects on his past endeavours but also about what it has meant to be an artist, then and now. As such, this is one of the most original surveys I’ve seen.”
The Telegraph: **** “Extinction Beckons, a major survey of work by the British artist Mike Nelson, bristles with compelling and disconcerting sculptural work.”
Culture Whisper: ***** “This exhibition feels like a labour of love and that artist Mike Nelson has thrown everything at it. It purposefully fires our imaginations to create our own interpretations of his work and that’s for the best as this ambitious exhibition is a great example of how contemporary conceptual art can be immersive, thought-provoking and memorable.”
City Am: “It’s a fascinating, absorbing exhibition, at once joyous and melancholy, and utterly unlike anything else.”
Mike Nelson: Extinction Beckons is on display at the Hayward Gallery until the 7th May 2023.