The Razors Edge: Sculpture as Matter and Pattern

January 27, 2013

Inaugural Professorial Lecture, Simeon Nelson
Thursday 7 March 2013, 7pm
Fielder Centre, Hatfield Business Park, Hatfield

The window of my childhood bedroom looked out onto a tree filled nature reserve. The patterns of actual nature out there were answered by the intense floral wallpaper adorning my walls and ceiling. My practice since has been a dialogue between nature and culture, the visual and the linguistic, the encounter between matter (mother) and pattern (father).

I will discuss ways in which I reformulate ideas in science and theology and how I work in collaboration with composers, scientists, psychologists and others on recent projects in galleries, hospitals, churches and other sites in the UK, Europe and Australia.

I produce optically ambiguous objects, installations, modular sculptural systems and videos whose underlying topologies are often obscured by intense ornament. They range from a roadside sculpture weighing 70 tonnes to ‘epiphytic’ wall-works, to projected architectural video. I play with the idea of the cosmic and the cosmetic (from the Greek, kosmos, order) on psychological and physical levels.

My work exists in and between the second, third and fourth dimensions. It conceals and un-conceals its own order; it is simultaneously secure and insecure. What you get is not necessarily what you see. My videos are iterative; they unpack themselves according to their algorithms. They encode a world of transience, of emergent fleeting pattern operating at the edge of order and disorder.

Simeon Nelson is a sculptor, new media and interdisciplinary artist working with convergences between science, religion and art and art in urban environments. After working as an artist in Australia and Asia he moved to the UK in 2001 and established a studio in central London. He was a finalist in the National Gallery of Australia’s National Sculpture Prize in 2005 and in the 2003 Jerwood Sculpture Prize, London. Passages, a monograph on his work was published by The University of New South Wales Press, Sydney in 2000.

He has received arts council grants in Australia and the UK, two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowships, Wellcome Trust, EU Culture Fund and Leverhulme Trust funding. In 1997 he was the Australian representative to The IX Triennial India. His work is in the collections of the Art/Omi Foundation, New York, the Jerwood Foundation, London, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.