Wed, Apr 20 2016 2016, catalogue, editorial, interview, Melbourne, Nicholas Mangan, Publication
Nicholas Mangan, ‘Ancient Lights’ (2015). Installation views, Chisenhale Gallery, 2015. Co-commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery, London and Artspace, Sydney. Courtesy the artist; Labor Mexico; Sutton Gallery, Melbourne; and Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland. Photo: Andy Keate.
We have just wrapped-up an interview with Melbourne-based artist Nicholas Mangan to be published by Sternberg Press as the catalogue of his forthcoming solo exhibition ‘Limits to Growth’, co-produced by Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), Melbourne (opening July 20) and Institute of Modern Art (IMA), Brisbane (where it will be on view from October 29), it will later travel to Kunst-Werke Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin (summer 2017). The five-part interview weaves together a discussion of his recent works ‘Nauru, Notes from a Cretaceous World’ (2009), ‘A World Undone’ (2012), ‘Progress in action’ (2013), ‘Ancient Lights’ (2015) and his newest piece ‘Limits to Growth’ (2016), to be premiered at Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA). Part of an ongoing dialogue with Mangan, it developed from a public conversation event that took place at Chisenhale Gallery, London on 7 July 2015. ‘Limits to Growth’ references a 1972 report commissioned by the Club of Rome that analysed a computer simulation of the Earth and human systems: the consequences of exponential economic and population growth given finite resource supplies. The overlapping themes and flows of energies in the five of Mangan’s projects discussed in the interview might be read as an echo of the modelling and systems dynamics used by the simulation in order to try and better understand the limits of the world’s ecosystems. Mangan is presenting ‘Ancient Lights’ (2015) at his Mexico City gallery LABOR on April 22, a work co-commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery in London and Artspace in Sydney.
- Latitudes conversation with Nicholas Mangan on 7 July 2015 at Chisenhale Gallery, London;
- Cover Story, July 2015: Nicholas Mangan’s ‘Ancient Lights’;
- Locating Ancient Lights signs around London with Nicholas Mangan;
- Max Andrews, Feature on Nicholas Mangan, 'Landscape Artist', Frieze, Issue 172, Summer 2015;
- Mariana Cánepa Luna, 'What Lies Underneath', interview with Nicholas Mangan, Mousse Magazine #47, February–March 2015.
Wed, Feb 11 2015 The February–March 2015 issue of Mousse Magazine (#47) includes the interview 'What Lies Beneath' between Melbourne-based artist Nicholas Mangan (1979, Geelong) and Mariana Cánepa Luna of Latitudes. 2015, Ecology, interview, LABOR, Mariana Cánepa Luna, Melbourne, Mousse magazine, New Museum, Nicholas Mangan
The interview centers primarily on discussing the artists' methodologies through two of Mangan's recent works: 'A World Undone' – currently on view as part of Witte de With's show 'Art in The Age of...Energy' (23 January–3 May 2015) – and his film and sculptural work 'Nauru - Notes From A Cretaceous World' which will soon be featured as part of the New Museum's 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience curated by Lauren Cornell (Curator, 2015 Triennial, Digital Projects and Museum as Hub) and artist Ryan Trecartin.Read the full review here. Following is an excerpt of the beginning of their conversation:
'Dowiyogo’s Ancient Coral Coffee Table', 2010. Courtesy of the artist, Sutton gallery Melbourne and Hopkinson Mossman Auckland.
MCL: Unearthing narratives embedded within matter has been at the very core of your practice for some time now. Your most recent sculptural and film works have inquired into natural materials, their transit and energy flow and how their transformation – be it human-induced or ecological – have a social, political and an economic dimension. I'm particularly thinking of your 2010 project 'Nauru: Notes from a Cretaceous World' – featured at the New Museum 2015 Triennial– which focuses on the story of the tiny Micronesian island Republic of Nauru and its financial collapse as a consequence of a century of corrosive colonial exploitation of its phosphate ore resources. Could you elaborate on how this notion of transformation is explored in your sculpture works (traditionally static) and films (moving image) and how you have come to interrelate the two in the spatial narrative of your installations?
NM: As transformation is a process occurring in time, the necessity to explore duration has led me to test moving image as a sculptural possibility, to express not only the temporality of the assemblage, but also the forces and drives that produce such aggregations. In the video ‘Nauru: Notes from a Cretaceous World', narration sits over found footage and material that I shot myself, providing an account of Nauru’s material history as shaped by anthropogenic forces. The narration attempts to draw out the various histories that are embedded in material forms. In more recent projects, such as ‘A World Undone’ (2012)and ‘Progress In Action’ (2013), I have attempted to produce an intensified intersection between moving image and sculpture, enabling the materials to narrate themselves.
'Nauru - Between A Rock and A Hard Place' installation view at Art Gallery Of New South whales 2009. Courtesy of the artist, Sutton gallery in Melbourne and Hopkinson Mossman in Auckland. Photo: Carley Wright.
'Mined over matter', 2012. C-print on cotton paper, 69 x 103cm.
Courtesy of the artist and LABOR Mexico.
'Matter over mined (for A World Undone)', 2012. C-print on cotton paper 69 x 103cm.
Courtesy of the artist and LABOR, Mexico.
'A World Undone', 2012 (video Stills). HD colour, silent, 12min continuous loop.
Courtesy of the artist and LABOR Mexico.
Mangan works with LABOR (México DF), Sutton Gallery (Melbourne) and Hopkinson Mossman (Auckland).
Visiting Curator Program, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, 12 May–7 June 2014 (28 April 2014).
'Nice to Meet You – Erick Beltrán. Some Fundamental Postulates' by Max Andrews on Mousse Magazine #31 (30 November 2011)
Interview 'Free Forms' with Lauren Cornell part of Latitudes' 2012–13 long-term research #OpenCurating, released on April 2013 via Issuu.
Mon, Oct 14 2013 2013, Frieze, interview, Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum, Max Andrews, MUSAC
'Work in Progress', 2013, production still. All images courtesy: the artists
The image of ‘work’ and the relation between art and labour Max Andrews: I’d like to talk about your current project, provisionally titled Work in Progress, set in the Lea-Artibai district of the Basque Country where Iratxe grew up. It began with your curiosity about the informal factories in the area where women trim moulded rubber parts destined for the car industry. What drew you to this subject?
Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum: When we encountered these groups of women sitting in a circle in their makeshift workspaces, surrounded by crates and boxes, performing tedious repetitive tasks together, it struck us as an incredibly complex and layered image. Although it echoed a traditional and communal way of life in what is still a mainly rural area, instead of spinning wool or mending fishing nets these women were working with abstract industrial forms which had no direct use-value to them. A closer inspection of the pieces revealed the brand names of multinational corporations such as Renault, Mercedes and Volkswagen. The women are from countries like Moldova, Peru or Senegal, yet it’s a scene that is at once domestic, local and Basque, while being replete with the contradictions of global capitalism.
MA: You are dealing with a representation of working, while also interweaving your own labour by making a film.
IJ & KvG: We have a long-standing interest in the image of ‘work’, and in the relation between art and labour. So we took this scene as the starting point for a cinematic analysis of production processes, both in these semi-clandestine workshops as well as in the main factory itself. Our approach has been strictly dispassionate, free from any superficial attempt to give the workers a voice. Instead, we focused our camera on the disciplinary conditions and rationalization of these processes, reproducing them in the montage by breaking up complex scenes into smaller units and stitching them back together again.
MA: How has Jorge Oteiza’s Laboratorio de Tizas (Chalk Laboratory, c.1972–4) – thousands of small sculpture-studies made by the late Basque sculptor, yet never conceived as art works per se – come to play a key role in the project?
IJ & KvG: To extend the analogy between editing a movie and working on an assembly line, we wanted to ‘splice’ ourselves into the relations of production at the factory by inventing an artistic task that resembled the one already being performed by the workers. So we hired the factory workers to make synthetic resin casts of Oteiza’s ‘Tizas’. Turning Oteiza’s experimental sculpture laboratory into a mass-production line, and recording it on camera is, in essence, a formal exercise that juxtaposes the production of Modernist sculpture with industrial manufacturing. It also allowed us to stage an image of the artist at work, and to superimpose it onto that of the wage-worker, ultimately presenting both as ideologically loaded social constructions.
Producing time in between other things, 2011, installation view at MUSAC, León.
MA: Is this project also a way for you to obliquely address the idea of Basque sculpture, from Oteiza and Eduardo Chillida through to Ibon Aranberri or Asier Mendizabal, for example?
IJ & KvG: The legacy of Basque Modernism loomed over this project long before we decided explicitly to include a reference to the work of Oteiza – although, in hindsight, it seems inevitable. But to speak of ‘Basque sculpture’ is to turn it into a closed-off category. We prefer to consider how the political function and significance that was once attributed to the language of abstract sculpture in Basque society holds up under contemporary conditions.
MA: In combining a study of the serial production of art with a social investigation into industrial manufacturing, you’re also reflecting on yourselves as cultural labourers. This was an important motif in your 2011 work Producing time in between other things (a project I co-curated with Mariana Cánepa Luna). Do you find it hard to be artists who make objects?
IJ & KvG: Oteiza once said that it wasn’t he who made the sculptures, but that the sculptures made him a sculptor. And now that he is a sculptor, why should he create more? In a way, we have been travelling in the opposite direction. We’ve always referred to ourselves as artists who do not make objects, and we only started making things to be able to address the notion of practice itself. In Producing time in between other things, for example, the 50 ornamental wooden legs we manufactured were simply a by-product of the task we had set ourselves: to learn how to use the woodturning lathe left by Klaas’s late grandfather, a retired factory worker. We took his place behind the machine, and recorded our activities on camera, not just as a ‘measurement’ of the passage of time required to gain a certain skill, but also as a reflection on how the disciplinary conditions of the wage-worker’s spare time inform our notion of artistic freedom and vice versa. Yet we’re also very much indebted to those thousands of ‘How to ...’ videos on YouTube, from cooking a steak to casting polyurethane action figures. Considering the generosity of all that is being shared between the producers and the viewers of these videos, is it any wonder that actually eating the steak doesn’t even enter into the picture? Max Andrews–Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum live in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and have been working together since 2001. They recently completed a residency at LIPAC, Buenos Aires, Argentina. They will present a solo exhibition at FRAC Aquitaine, Bordeaux, France, opening on 4 October.