The Terminal Beach

We went to see the new show Extinction Beckons by Mike Nelson at the Hayward Gallery.

Outside the Gallery are some other public exhibits.

We first saw Mike Nelson’s work when one of his earlier installations, “The Coral Reef“, was on display at Tate Britain in 2011, and we saw it at the same time as the Vorticists exhibition they were showing. It had it had 2 rooms that looked the same but were in different positions, with a derelict site that may be an abandoned hideout, or a secret interrogation chamber concealed in a blandly ordinary shell. Such places may have proliferated in the world soon after 2001, but they existed already in the underground networks of resistance movements, some of whose exploits are celebrated as officially recognised heroism. One of the shadow histories of modern Britain would be the insurgency against German occupation, planned and prepared in advance of the invasion that never happened – but the documents and devices must have existed somewhere, never released at the time, like “KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON”, but not allowed to survive and resurface like that relic did.

The new show is mostly taken up by a labyrinthine expansion of the Coral Reef, now with many rooms next to rooms next to rooms hidden behind signs and concealed entrances and with banal presentations (travel agencies, hotel desks, etc.) hiding alternative arrangements and secret transmitters, or perhaps spaces for undocumented workers.

This show is hugely popular and we had to stand in a long queue to get in to the main unit once we had gone in.

And so to the biggest installation:

At the end of the queue we can see along the far side:

And so in:

And so we exit out of the main installation to see an untitled work of rubble inside a sleeping bag:

Go upstairs:

Going in:

At the other end: the found machines of “The Asset Strippers”:

Finally, some of the bigger installations replicating building sites.

The installation about a fictional biker gang “The Amnesiacs”:

The “Amnesiac Beach Fire”:

Heads in wires, a mysterious site office full of bric-a-brac:

In the gallery shop was a nice big exhibition guide, and also works by various modern writers, including J.G.Ballard, though not The Terminal Beach.

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