Mike Nelson’s work was first constructed in 1999 and opened in 2000 in Matt’s Gallery London. It was then rebuilt at the Tate 10 years later. The piece named appropriately The Coral Reef, represents the ocean surface as economic capitalism and the rooms are a complex of fragile structure enhancing different belief systems (religious, social, economical and political). The artist says the piece shows in some ways a relationship between the East and Islam. By recreating the piece in 2010, he aims to re-date the moment.
This architectural installation brings across the feelings of eeriness and paranoia. The installation is a series of room each one inhabited by somebody different. The 15 rooms are hidden behind an exterior wall so that the viewer has no idea of the sheer size of the installation. As the rooms are deserted, the occupants are unknown, leaving it up to the viewer to decide the life and pathway of each individually. The objects in the rooms have been found by the artist.
The ideology behind the piece is the restrictive illusion of freedom through this confusion and disorientation of the labyrinth style installation.
Nelson’s work highlights a world pre Millenia where everything is not as it seems. Even then Nelson is showing the viewer a eery and disconcerting scene. This could also relate to the piece again today, is the ideology still the same? Maybe we are living in a world even more paranoiac than that of before. With everything the world has been though, is going through, does Nelson’s piece ring even more true? The only way to discover how this could be possible would be to send somebody with no background of the piece inside and record in which day they though this was created, however would the dated objects give this away? Since its recreation Nelson has not changed the objects and they could appear very old fashioned in a world that is moving so rapidly. In the end I feel Nelson aims to arouse fear and anxiety within the viewer to a point where they start to question society.