Limits to Growth
29 October–18 December 201629 Oct–18 Dec 2016
Limits to Growth is the first survey exhibition of Melbourne-based artist Nicholas Mangan. Bringing together five major projects made between 2009 and 2016, Mangan’s immersive moving-image installations masterfully balance complex narratives.
Cross-institutionally developed by the Institute of Modern Art in partnership with the Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; and the Kunst-Werke Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin; the works in this show emerge out of the conditions of Mangan’s own geographic region, the Asia Pacific, in which his home country of Australia has played a decisive role. Mangan weaves the geographic specificity of these locations into a bigger picture that takes into account the global economy, resource extraction, and the ultimate power of the sun.
Together, the works presented across the IMA’s four galleries capture the sensitivity with which Mangan tackles key issues of our era, notably, the socio-political context of energy extraction. Such conditions are dissected in Nauru – Notes from a Cretaceous World (2009–10) by exploring the boom and bust of the Nauru economy. Progress in Action (2013) addresses indigenous activism against the Rio Tinto mining corporation and government in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. Newly co-commissioned work by the Institute of Modern Art, and Monash University Museum of Art, Limits to Growth (2016) takes as its starting point the ancient currency Rai, comparing these large stone coins from the Micronesian island of Yap to one of the newest global digital currencies, Bitcoin.
The accompanying publication, Limits to Growth, initiated by the IMA in partnership with MUMA, K-W Institute of Contemporary Art, features an in-depth series of conversations between the artist and independent curatorial office Latitudes, and essays by Ana Teixeira Pinto and Helen Hughes. The book is richly illustrated with documentation of Mangan’s artworks and historical source material. The publication was a finalist in The Cornish Family Prize for Art and Design Publishing, 2017.
Nicholas Mangan has exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally. His recent major installation Other Currents was presented at Artspace, Sydney, 2015; and Ancient Lights at Chisenhale Gallery, London, 2015. Other solo exhibitions include: Some Kinds of Duration, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, 2012; Nauru, notes from a cretaceous world, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2010; and Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2009. Selected group exhibitions include: Gwangju Biennale: What does art do?, Gwangju, 2016; Let’s Talk About the Weather: Art and Ecology in a Time of Crisis, Sursock, Beirut, 2016; Riddle of the Burial Grounds, Project Arts Centre, Dublin, 2015; Art in the Age of…, Witte de With, Rotterdam, 2015; New Museum Triennial: Surround Audience, New York, 2015; Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2013–14; Mom, am I a barbarian?, 13th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul 2013; and Weather Permitting, 9th Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2013. Mangan has been awarded numerous international residencies, including Recollets Artist Residency, Paris, 2012; and the Australia Council’s New York Green Street Residency, 2006. Mangan is represented by Sutton Gallery, Melbourne; LABOR, Mexico City; and Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland.