Mike Tyler
New Work
13 March - 3 May 2003

11 March 2003
Sarah Cornell

Conversation with Mike Tyler
Over the course of his career Mike Tyler has created breathtaking, otherworldly narratives through the use of photography, film, video, sculpture, and landscape architecture. Borrowing heavily from science, Tyler co-opts ideas and extends them past the point of proof in order to test boundaries and explore new frontiers.

Nature is another dominant leitmotif in Tyler's work. Raised in southern California, Tyler reminisces about his youth exploring the surrounding beaches, valleys, and mountains and explains how those memories still inform his work despite his 18-year residence in Holland. This influence is apparent in much of his photography and film work, specifically in a short science fiction film titled "Nostoc Terraformers," where footage of California's infamous Death Valley forms the backdrop for a deserted, alien planet.

While his current tableau has evolved from earthworks, Tyler's interest in the natural world and the chemistry of life is still evident. Early commissions consisted of garden installations housed in urban settings where Tyler crafted local elements into organic systems. An example of this is his barren, closed-system garden installation at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. In another commission, Tyler created an abstract rooftop garden made from different kinds of local limestone, which incorporated a water system simulating the chemical process that generates life. Unlike artists Robert Smithson and Andy Goldsworthy who work primarily on land sculptures within a site-specific environment, Tyler creates mutable works in contained spaces. Current commissions include a collaborative design for a cemetery in the northern Dutch community of Spijk.

In the beginning, Tyler incorporated his ideas about the physical world into landscape architecture. Continuing this practice today, Tyler still accepts these commissions while he simultaneously weaves his ideas about the scientific process into other sculpture, film, and photographic works. In transcending both art and science, Tyler will continue to produce optimistic, hybrid environments inspiring new ideas for the future.

Note: Most recently Mike Tyler showed at the 49th Venice Biennial. His work can also be found in several European collections including the Kunsthalle Bern, Kunsthaus Zurich, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and Centre pour l'image Contemporaine in Geneva.