Newsnight Review discussed Newsnight Review discussed Lionheart by Mike Nelson is at the New Art Gallery in Walsall.
(Edited highlights of the panel's review taken from the teletext subtitles that are generated live for Newsnight Review.)
Does this take you back into a child-like state or an adult fit of indignation.
I was trying hard not to laugh. In fact not
that hard. If there was more people there
I would have laughed. Its literally a heap
of junk. Bottle tops, fag ends. Comic
Could you make no narrative
What objective standard can you judge
this by and say this is art. Its simply
assembled to see if anybody will laugh.
If they don't, then maybe it will catch the
fashion and people will write
reverential things about it. As I walked
around it, peering at it to see if I could
discover anything that wasn't obvious I
barged into a rat trap and stood on the
firewood. It may contribute to its value
that I have done these things to it. To
even tell people this is art is so
laughable, why do we bother.
Germaine you were a fan of his work.
Do you see a sense of evolution to that
piece from the work you are familiar
He was a better artist now than they was
when he did that. I can see what he is
going for. I don't think it works. Its not
entirely his fault. The installation at the
New Art Gallery is odd looking. You
have that luminous feel above it. It doesn't establish its
own space or have its own energy either.
Each of the objects, they are too
complicated and tricky.
It doesn't have a nucleus. It doesn't build
energy from everywhere. I trailed in it
and out it. I could see what is going on.
He is a much more confident artist now.
He's using bigger spaces and he's not
going for so many silly little effects. So
many charismatic tricky objects where
you think, where did that come from.
What is inside that box.
Everything there is there for a reason.
Everything is chosen. When you lie
down on the floor, which I did.
It's not anti-imperialist., it's about the
collapse of that. What is interesting, you
go into it and you spend three quarters of
an hour solving it. Its like "ok, what
happened here?" You look at each
individual item. And wonder what each
individual item means about the
character who may or may not live here.
The problem is when you leave, you
leave and it doesn't bring anything with
it. Its an interesting exercise. It's a game,
it's a quiz. It's a puzzle. But it's not
junk. It's well chosen.
Well chosen for what purpose?
To intrigue and titillate for the time you
are in there.
There were a few drawings that I gather
Mr Nelson had done himself, which suggest that he might be able to draw.
I always hope that these artists have
got somewhere in a sealed room, real paintings or sculptures, which after 20
years of being adored by people saying
how wonderful their junk is, they then
produce and say "Actually I can paint
and I do sculpture." I'm longing for
these people to do this and have the last
laugh on all the people who have
admired the junk.