London Life

Mike Nelson’s ‘Coral Reef’ at Tate Britain

Inside ‘Coral Reef’

My thoughts upon visiting the alternate world hidden behind an unassuming door that ultimately is Mike Nelson’s ‘Coral Reef’ at Tate Britain:

It felt like walking into some seedy underworld.

I didnt know where I was and I questioned if the Tate Britain was really on the opposite side of the door I went through to get here. A modern day rabbit hole without the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat and the Red Queen but instead machine guns, taxi offices, Islamic prayer books and arcade games.

I didnt know what to think but I knew how I felt: totally uncomfortable and like an outsider.

Yet, as I wandered through this maze something changed. Within 45 minutes I started to know my way through and the rooms became familiar as I learned what was behind each door without having to open it again.

I’m told there is a different exit than the entrance but I didn’t find it this time. Perhaps I will return soon to challenge my psyche again, looking for that exit while also examining if I feel different knowing what to expect behind that first door.

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