An installation by Simeon Nelson
“The last extreme of littleness is sublime also, because division, as well as addition, is infinite. Infinity fills the mind with that sort of delightful horror which is the truest test of the sublime; and succession and uniformity of parts, which constitute the artificial infinite, give the effect of sublimity in architecture. But in regard to the sublime in building, greatness of dimension is also requisite, though designs which are vast only by their dimensions are always the sign of a common and low imagination. No work of art can be great but as it deceives.
A claustrophobic interior forest of Jacobean-fret columns fills the small front room of Elastic Residence. Laser cut from plywood they syncopate the space into a dynamic maze, a flat-packed English Alhambra.
They increase in density as you move into the room till it is hard to squeeze through. Dead Birch saplings begin to sprout in between them gradually transforming the back of the room into a forest. A floor to ceiling trellis and chicken wire barrier spans the space and blocks your passage to the rear of the room. Peering through this screen reveals only a thick chiaroscuro tangle of branches and brambles. Tattered shreds of net curtain fringe its perimeter and from beyond it a furtive cracking of twigs can be heard.
This exhibition places highly ornate architectural elements within a ‘natural’ landscape – or is it the other way round?…this exhibition inverts an unnatural landscape within a small room in a 1770’s Georgian house in Whitechapel, East London. This inversion reflects a wider concern in Nelson’s practice – a concern with the relationship between notions of the sublime and the personal or the oppositional dualism of nature as variously earthly paradise or dangerous wilderness.
Questions of historic authenticity and personal identity, connections between nature and the way it has been constructed in art, the resonant quotient of terror over beauty in the search for a perfect sublime and many others fold into each other in this complex new installation by Simeon Nelson.
A prominent Australian sculptor he has lived in London for four years and you may find further information on his work at www.simeon-nelson.com