Mike Nelson Artist walk 2012. Image M de Pulford

Artist Walks
Mike Nelson

Monday 21 March 2016
16:00—19:30 approx

The Jetty at Cockleshell Hard, Isle of Grain

Four Artist Walks have been devised to explore possible alternatives to artist talks. They aim to test the proposition that a walking journey with an artist could be as valuable as hearing her or him address a lecture theatre, and that sharing a range of sights and sounds could reveal something that slides and video clips do not.

Information about the artist and the politics, history and imaginative potential of the landscape being walked through will be disseminated before/after in an online document in order to keep the walk itself as ‘present’ as possible.

Walkers will be invited to mix and mingle during the walks, with an emphasis on informal conversation. Midway through the walks, students will present a set of questions to the artists which later will be collated, with the artists’ responses, in the Whitstable Biennale’s online journal.

Each route will culminate at a point along the Medway estuary or river Swale, forming a string of reference points between which the connections between the walks can be contemplated.

This walk, with Mike Nelson, will start at the jetty at Cockleshell Hard, passing Grain Power Station, heading north along the shore, through abandoned and overgrown car parks and decaying gun emplacements, then out along the stepping stones across the mud to Grain Tower at the mouth of the River Medway, then North, past Grain Fort to Grain Village. A small artist’s publication will be provided to each walker.  (Click here for details of other Artist Walks.)


Tickets (priced at £5 per person) are available here via Eventbrite:

Notes for walkers:

The walks will be largely off-road. Participants are recommended to wear waterproof walking boots and warm outdoor clothing. Please also note that access to drinking water and toilet facilities will be limited.

Mike Nelson
’s work has centred on the transformation of narrative structure to spatial structure, and on the objects placed within them, immersing the viewer and agitating their perception of these environments. The narratives employed by the artist are not teleological, but multi-layered, and often fractured to the extent that they could be described as a semblance of ‘atmospheres’, put together to give a sense of meaning. The more discrete sculptural works are informed by this practice, often relying on their ambiguity to fade in and out of focus, as a sculpture or thing of meaning, and back to the very objects or material from which they are made. By working in this way the more overtly political aspects of the early works have become less didactic, allowing for an ambiguity of meaning, both in the way that they are experienced and understood. This has led to the possibility of the viewer being coerced into a state where the understanding of the varied structures of their existence, both conscious and sub-conscious, are made tangible.

Born in Loughborough (UK) in 1967, Mike Nelson lives and works in London. His solo exhibitions and projects include: Amnesiac Shrine, ‘Sensory Spaces 8’, Boijmans Museum, Rotterdam (2016); Gang of Seven, 303 Gallery, New York (2015); Studio apparatus for Kunsthalle Münster, Kunsthalle Münster (2014); Eighty Circles through Canada, Tramway, Glasgow (2014); Amnesiac Hide, The Powerplant, Toronto (2014) Mike Nelson, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2013); More things (To the memory of Honoré de Balzac), Matt’s Gallery, London (2013); M6, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK (2013); space that saw (platform for a performance in two parts) neugerriemschneider, Berlin (2012); 408 tons of imperfect geometry, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden (2012);  I, IMPOSTOR, British Pavilion, 54th Biennale di Venezia (2011); Quiver of Arrows, 303 Gallery, New York (2010); A Psychic Vacuum, Creative Time, New York (2007); AMNESIAC SHRINE or Double coop displacement, Matt’s Gallery, London (2006); Triple Bluff Canyon, Modern Art Oxford (2004); Nothing is True. Everything is Permitted. ICA, London (2001); The Deliverance and The Patience, a PEER Commission for the Venice Biennale (2001) and The Coral Reef, Matt’s Gallery, London (2000). His group shows include: The Green Ray, Wilkinson Gallery, London (2016); La Vie Moderne, 13th Biennale de Lyon (2015); INSIDE, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014); September 11, MoMA PS1, New York (2011); Singapore Biennale (2011); Altermodern, Tate Britain (2009); Psycho Buildings, Hayward Gallery, London (2008); Eclipse: Art in a Dark Age, Moderna Museet, Stockholm Sweden (2008); Reality Check, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark (2008); Turner Prize, Tate Liverpool (2007); Frieze Projects, Frieze Art Fair, London (2006); and Turner Prize, Tate Britain, London (2001).

Mike Nelson is represented by 303 Gallery, New York; Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Matt’s Gallery, London; and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.


Artist Walks is a collaborative project with the School of Music and Fine Art at the University of Kent. It is supported by Kent County Council.