Juan Munoz Double Bind/ Mike Nelson The Coral Reef

In the works cited above both artists use the technique of segueing reality - the surrounding context of their artwork - into the artwork itself. In this way they not only blur the boundaries of the invented and the real, but appropriate reality in such a way as to make it essential for the completion of the work. The experience of these two installations requires the viewer to be, at least initially, unaware that they have walked into a work of fiction.

Although both these pieces are large-scale installations, this method of blending levels of reality is one that can be exploited on a much smaller scale. In the Korean pavilion of the 51st Biennale di Venezia for example, there was an artist who had made functional household objects. In this way he had made a radio that resembled a kettle, and a kettle that looked like a toaster, etc.

In all of these examples the trick is to subvert our unconscious expectations.

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