Simeon Nelson is a sculptor, new media and interdisciplinary artist interested in convergences between science, religion and art, complexity theory and relationships between art, architecture urban sites and the natural world.
After establishing himself as an artist in Australia and Asia in the 1990s, he moved to London in 2001 and is currently working on projects in Africa, Australia, Europe and the UK. He was a Finalist in the National Gallery of Australia’s National Sculpture Prize in 2005 and a Finalist in the 2003 Jerwood Sculpture Prize. 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, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowships, Wellcome Trust arts awards, Leverhulme Trust and EU funding. In 1997 he was the Australian representative to the IX Triennial India, New Delhi.
Projects include: All Our Ancestors, an Arts Council England/British Council funded residency and exhibition in Harare, Zimbabwe; Anarchy in the Organism, a Wellcome Trust funded commission for the new Macmillan Cancer Centre in London looking at cancer as a complex system; Plenum, a computer generated real-time architectural light projection looking at the balance of order and disorder in the cosmos, which is part of an EU Culture Fund supported project, Lux Scientia; Paratekton (Social Sculpture System), the Melbourne Art Fair, 2010; Cryptosphere, at the Royal Geographical Society, London and Plataforma Revolver, Lisbon, 2008-10; Desiring Machine, a monumental sculpture on the outskirts of Melbourne, 2008 and Flume, a large-scale site-embedded commission for Ashford, Kent, UK, 2005-8. His work is held in the collections of the Art/Omi Foundation, New York, the Jerwood Foundation, London, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne and the Cass Sculpture Foundation, UK. He is represented by Encounter Contemporary, London and Mossgreen Gallery, Melbourne. His work is held in public collections in Australia and the UK. He is currently professor of sculpture at the University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom.
Relicario is a modular sculptural system I created for the Vicente exhibition in Portugal curated by Mario Caeiro and is development of previous systems such as Cryptosphere and Paratekton. It consists of 33 617 x 617 x 617mm modules. The entire system is flat-packed, each module consists of four 12mm laser cut patterns that slot together to make a cubic form. Each of the 33 modules has 24 joining points at their six extremities and they have the potential to be configured in many different ways depending on the space they are being installed by the artist in. There is a default arrangement to be used when the artist is not present to supervise installation.
It is a sculptural installation based on the legend of St Vicente, patron saint of Lisbon who was supposed to have arrived in Lisbon floating on the river Tagus. The installation for Ermida references the reliquary, the resting place of a saint’s bones. The physical structure of the work is white MDF elements slotted together in a dense but open concretion in the centre of the space just above the floor. The piece becomes a white nexus of spiritual energy, a white filigree in a white room hovering near the floor, pile of transfigured bones emanating radioactively into the space.
The open fretwork of the modules is transcribe from the typical Lisboetan blue and white tiling so the mass of matter in the middle of the room is highly patterned and dematerialised, a ghost-like emnation.
This work comes out of my interest in mysticism, particularly the writing of Meister Ekhart whose ideas about the relationship of the indivisible godhead have resonances with Vedic metaphysics. The artist sees this sculpture as a concretion, a deposition of immaterial energy, a making visible and embodying or instantiating in matter a pattern or spirit.