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A Psychic Vacuum: An artist book by Mike Nelson
In fall 2007, artist Mike Nelson transformed the disused interior of the Essex Street Market in NYC’s Lower East Side, taking audiences on an unexpected journey through reconstructed rooms, passageways, and carefully assembled environments of his installation titled A Psychic Vacuum. Over the next two years, the artist meticulously recreated that journey in a deluxe artist book, clothbound with over 200 images, to be published by Creative Time Books. The book mirrors audiences’ experience of the installation, drawing readers through photographs of a maze of rooms into the project’s central focus, a vast plain of sand dunes hidden in the middle of the labyrinth. The reader is then led out of the installation via a different path, revisiting some rooms and exploring some not yet seen. Two critical essays by the installations co-curators Peter Eleey and Nato Thompson shed light on the artist’s complex thinking, and pages from the artist’s notebook are also reproduced.