Nicholas Mangan

For as long as I can remember, I have been pulling things apart – attempting to understand them – and then putting them back together (but not always in the same way). My practice is driven by the desire to make sense of the world by unpacking histories and possible narratives that surround specific contested sites and objects. This investigation explores the unstable relationship between culture and nature, evidencing the flows of matter, energy and ideologies that are produced through the tension of these two realms. A disputed tropical mine, a bankrupted island nation, a geological sample of the earliest earth crust, discarded tourist souvenirs and the remnants of a demolished architectural icon have each lent material to this process of dissection and reconfiguration. By rerouting these events, stories and objects, new forms and latent narratives are unearthed. Recent projects have utilised a confluence of film and sculpture as an agent for both formal and metaphorical excavation.

Born 1979 Geelong, Victoria, Australia.
Lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.


Senior Lecturer, Higher Degree Research Supervisor & Honours Coordinator, Monash University,
Department of Fine Arts
PhD in Fine Arts, Monash University, Melbourne
UDK, Berlin, Germany
Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art), Victorian College of the Arts

Selected Solo Exhibits

Termite Economies: Phase 3, Labor, Mexico City, Mexico
Termite Economies: Neural Nodes and Root Causes, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
Termite Economies, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), Perth, Australia
Termite Economies: Phase 2 (Metabolic Shift), Mossman, Wellington, New Zealand
Termite Economies: Phase 1, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
Limits to Growth, Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Limits to Growth, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany
Limits to Growth, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, Australia
Brilliant Errors, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
Ancient Lights, Labor, Mexico City, Mexico
Other Currents, Artspace, Sydney, Australia
Ancient Lights, Chisenhale Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Some Kinds of Duration, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, Australia
Let’s Talk about the Weather, Y3K, Melbourne, Australia
Nauru, Notes from a Cretaceous World, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
Between a rock and a hard place, Level 2 Project Space, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Misplaced / Displayed Mass- A1 Southwest Stone, Studio 12, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne, Australia
A1 Southwest Stone, Sutton gallery project space Melbourne, Australia
Comparative Material, Projects @ 230 Young Street Fitzroy / Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
The Mutant Message, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
The Colony, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne, Australia


MCA Collection: Perspectives on place, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia
This brittle light: Light Source commissions 2020-2021, Buxton Contemporary, Melbourne, Australia
A Biography of Daphne, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia
trust & confusion, Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong
Eucalyptusdom, Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo, Australia
TOWARDS REGROWTH, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
On Celestial Bodies, Arter, Istanbul, Turkey
The Penumbral Age: Art in the Time of Planetary Change , Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland
The Posthuman City, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore
Antipodean Stories, Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milano, Italy
Werethings, Galeria Plan B, Berlin, Germany
D.E.E.P. (Disaster of Extra Epic Proportions) in The Mesh, an exhibition coproduced by chi K11 Art
Museum and NOWNESS, Shanghai, China
Capital, National Centre for Photography as part of the Ballarat international Foto Biennale, Ballarat, Australia
Pictures and Words, Bus Projects, Melbourne, Australia
Let’s Talk About the Weather: Art and Ecology in a Time of Crisis, Guangdong Times Museum,
Guangzhou, China
74 million million million tons, Sculpture Centre, New York, USA
A World Undone, 21st Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Unthought Environments, The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA
être pierre, Musée Zadkine, Paris, France
Manipulate the World, Morderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
The National 2017: new Australian art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Out of the ordinary, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Human/Animal/Artist, McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
4.543 BILLION. The Matter of matter, CAPC, Bordeaux, France
Imagine the Present, curated by Abby Cunnane, St Paul St. Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
Riddle of the Burial Grounds, curated by Tessa Giblin, Extra City, Antwerpen, Belgium
Let’s Talk About the Weather: Art and Ecology in a Time of Crisis, Curated by Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez and Nora Razian, Sursock Museum, Sursock, Beirut, Lebanon
Neriri Kirurur Harara, SeMa Biennale Curated by Beck Jee-sook, Mediacity Seoul, South Korea
Gwangju Biennale: the Eight Climate (What Does Art Do?), Gwangju, curated by Maria Lind, South Korea
Beyond 2 degrees, curated by Brooke Kellaway, Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, USA
The Biography of Things, Curated by Hannah Mathews and Annika Kristensen, Australian Centre of for Contemporary Art, Melbourne
Riddle of the Burial Grounds, curated by Tessa Giblin, Project Arts Centre, Dublin, Ireland
Surround Audience, New Museum Triennial, Curated by Lauren Cornell and Ryan Trecartin, New York, USA
Concrete, Curated by Geraldine Barlow, Tophane-i Amire, Culture and Arts Center Mimar Sinan Fine Art University, Istanbul, Turkey
Rocks, Stones, and Dust, Curated by John G. Hampton, University of Toronto Art Centre, Canada
Art in the age of… curated by Defne Ayas, Natasha Hoare, Samuel Saelemakers, With De withe, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Octopus 14: Nothing Beside Remains, curated by Tara McDowell, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, Australia
Concrete, curated by Geraldine Barlow, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, Australia
Thinking About Building, Curated by Melanie Oliver, The Physics Room, Christchurch, New Zealand
Creative Suite, Square2, Curated by Andie Bell, City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand
Anthropocene Monument, curated by Bruno Latour and Bronislaw Szerszynski, Les Abattoirs, Toulouse, France
Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Weather Permitting, 9th Bienal do Mercosul, Curated by Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Mom, am I a barbarian?, 13th Istanbul Biennial, Curated by Fulya Erdemci, instabul, Turkey
Living in the Ruins of the Twentieth Century, curated by Adam Jasper and Holly Williams UTS Gallery, Sydney
Courtesy of the artist, curated by Alexandra Baudelot, CNEAI, Paris, France
Regimes of Value, curated by Elizabeth Gower, Margaret Lawrence Gallery and The Substation, Melbourne, Australia
Third/Fourth: Melbourne artist facilitated Biennial, Curated by Christopher L.G Hill, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Art & Australia Collection 2003–2013, Newcastle Art Gallery, New South Wales, Australia
Negotiating This World: Contemporary Australian Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Running on Pebbles: through-lines with incidents and increments, Curated by Allan Smith, The Snakepit, Auckland, New Zealand
Sinking Islands, Curated by Vincent Normand, Labor, Mexico City, Mexico
Talking Pictures, Curated by Melanie Oliver Artspace, Sydney, Australia
The Edge of the Universe (Part II), Curated by Danny Lacy, Shepparton Art Gallery Victoria, Australia
Networks (cells & silos), curated by Geraldine Barlow, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, Australia
2010 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Before & After Science, curated by Charlotte Day and Sarah Tutton, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
Event Horizon, curated by Mark Feary, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, Australia
The woods that see and hear, Curated by Sarah Farrer, Dertien Hectare, Heeswijk, The Netherlands
West Brunswick Sculpture Triennial, Ocular Lab and various venues around Brunswick, Melbourne, Australia
Y2K Melbourne Biennial, TCB art inc., Melbourne, Australia
The Ecologies Project, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, Australia
Fictions, curated by Kirrily Hammond, Monash University, Museum of Art touring exhibition, Switchback Gallery, Gippsland Centre for Art and Design, Australia
TarraWarra Biennial 2008: Lost & Found, an Archaeology ofthe Present, curated by Charlotte Day, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Australia
Lucky Number Seven, SITE Biennial 2008, Curated by Lance Fung, SITE Santa Fe, USA
Revolving Doors, an exhibition in memory of Blair Trethowan, Uplands Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
The Shadow Cabinet, the second phase of ‘Master Humphrey’s Clock’, curated by Yulia Aksenova, Jesse Birch, Sarah Farrar, Inti Guerrero and Virginija Januskeviciute, de Appel Arts Centre, The Netherlands
Super Natural, Curted by Emily Cormack, The Physics Room, Christchurch, New Zealand

Adventures with Form in Space, The Fourth Balnaves Foundation Sculpture Project, Curated by Wayne Tunnicliffe, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Uncanny Nature, Curated by Rebecca Coates, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia
Molecular History of Everything, curated by Juliana Engberg, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia
Australian Culture Now, The Ian Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Primavera,curated by Vivienne Webb, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia
Work in progress, curated by Hannah Matthews, Spacement, Melbourne, Australia
Carbon Copy and Giant Molecules, curated by John Nicholson, Penthouse and Pavement, Melbourne, Australia

Pure Negativity, Westspace, Melbourne, Australia
: Mutable Spaces, curated by Josh Milani, Metro Arts, Brisbane, Australia

Core - Coralations (Death Assemblages)


(Death assemblage’(thanatocoenosis): An assemblage of fossils of organisms that were not associated with one another during their lives. The remains were brought together after death, often by the action of currents.)

Core-Coralations (Death Assemblages) is an exhibition of new sculptures and photographs that are part of Mangan’s long-term Core-Coralations project. It considers The Great Barrier Reef’s recurring mass coral bleaching events as literal and metaphorical starting points for evidence of a warming world. Of the many entanglements that Mangan explores, key themes include coral death in and of itself; and as a precursor to climate-change-related human demise, fossil fuel and petrochemical extraction.

In their typical usage polystyrene ‘wet boxes’ are formed from small beads of petrochemical (derived from fossil fuels) that resemble coral polyps. They transit commodities, including fresh seafood for human consumption across international seas during the perpetual exchange of goods. In the Coral Ossuaries, Mangan uses a collection of found wet boxes as molds for casting coral bone fragments (sold for domestic aquarium tank filtration) into new hybrid forms made of coral, with a spectral trace of polystyrene: fossils of the Anthropocene that describe reef heating and coral death. (Ossuary: A container in which the bones of
dead people are placed. Latin etymology: ‘Os’ - ‘bone’.)

The first sign of coral heat stress is necrosis of the polyps when the tiny organisms that feed the coral fail to thrive and peel away from the coral’s limestone skeleton. In Sarcophagi, Mangan casts a barricade structure using coral. Coral becoming a barricade references a confrontation between the ‘barrier’ reef and Captain James Cook’s maiden voyage to Australia, which ran aground on the reef. It also acts as a memorial sarcophagus for lost corals of The Great Barrier Reef and calls to mind the inevitable heat stress that all living organisms will face under a warming climate. (Sarcophagi: A box-like funeral receptacle for a corpse. Greek etymology: flesh + eater.)