A visit to Tate Modern – Mike Nelson’s Asset Stippers

Once again residents from the Home of Compassion opened their minds to a new and unexpected world of art and attended Tate Britain’s audio description on Mike Nelson’s The Asset Strippers.

The normally serene halls of the Duveen Gallery had been chopped into smaller rooms by large swathes of chipboard ply and doors from old hospitals and farm sheds separated these new areas from each other.  In contrast to the expected grandeur of this space, the scene had been transformed into something resembling an abandoned farm outbuilding or a derelict factory floor.   

Speakers Marcus, Isabella, Ruby and Sarah all took turns in describing our surroundings in this audio description for the blind and partially sighted audience.  Not only do they detail the actual works on display but also impart valuable knowledge about the artist and the message they are portraying. 

Mike Nelson is not what you would expect from an artist who is starting his sixth decade on the planet; he dons woolly hats and has a down to earth attitude many of us do not associate with the industry.  His installations are not for sale, and they are temporary; only displayed once, then dismantled forever.  Those who view the exhibition are the only ones in history who will ever wrap their eyes around his vision, then it is gone.  For this project he scoured the internet for the relics of our industrial and infrastructural past.  Why he decided to do this is a mystery, even to him, as he dislikes computers immensely; we gather this must have been a labour of love. 

Over 6 months he purchased a range of machines and equipment left over from our industrial days.  Everything from drills, cement mixers, scary looking knitting machines and lethal tractor heads have all been gathered and placed on various plinths throughout the rooms he created.  Familiar hospital doors from our youth provided access to other hidden areas, and a true sense of abandonment is felt for all this machinery which was considered the height of progression in its era.  None of the items are renovated, just displayed in the woeful state they arrived in. 

Quite a sobering exhibition, showing how you can be flavour of the month one day and discarded, broken and uncared for the next; it was suggested the artist wished to convey how the homeless must feel when society seems to ignore them with relative ease. 

Once again we wore special gloves and were permitted to feel particular pieces; the roughness of the wrought iron, the sharpness of the plough prongs looking like gigantic sunflower heads about 15 metres in diameter and the muzzy bobbin winding machine with a crumbling leather belt which used to ferry away the debris and fluff from the machine area. 

Our regular Tate visits are expanding our appreciation of art we would not normally expose ourselves to and pushes our perceptions ever outwards.  We are never too old to learn and appreciate new things and the discussions about the art we had viewed on the journey back from Tate certainly proved that. To say we are looking forward to our next visit is putting it mildly.

Home of Compassion is dedicated to providing the highest level of residential, nursing and dementia care for up to 71 elderly residents. The luxurious care home is set in delightful surroundings in the heart of Thames Ditton, with beautiful views over the river.

If you would like to find out more about life at Home of Compassion, our events and activities, or would like to arrange a visit to our home, please contact us on 0808 223 5406 or email manager.hoc@caringhomes.org.

Home of Compassion

Home Manager

Avril Jones

Address

58 High Street,
Thames Ditton,
Surrey,
KT7 0TT

Contact
0808 223 5406
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