Spectacular plastic landscapes
For its 2022 exhibition highlight, the Weltmuseum Wien (World Museum Vienna) invited George Nuku, one of the world's most sought-after Māori artists, to Vienna. The New Zealander has already realized around 120 major projects worldwide, and Vienna can be described as the highpoint of his career to date.
For three whole months, he worked with around 200 volunteer helpers on numerous installations, which can now be marveled at in the Weltmuseum Wien (World Museum Vienna) and – freely accessibly – in the Theseus Temple. The special exhibition "Oceans. Collections. Reflections." at the Weltmuseum Wien (World Museum Vienna) extends from the wonderful hall of columns through seven of the museum's exhibition rooms. Each is a spectacle of color in itself. Topics are Māori culture, oceans, communities of origin, and colonialization, as well as the Austrian Novara expedition, which stopped off in New Zealand in the middle of the 19th century.
Works from the collections of the Weltmuseum Wien and of the Naturhistorisches Museum Vienna literally merge with Nuku's art. He works autobiographically and at the same time focuses on global issues like the climate crisis. Past and future always collide. Nuku's preferred materials: Above all plastic, but also polystyrene, Plexiglas, and wood. Again and again, the visitors comes across plastic bottles or parts of them and their twist caps.
Mutated ocean world
This is mainly also found in the Theseus Temple, the second site of the major project, in which George Nuku has created a kind of underwater world of the future with "Bottled Ocean 2122". In the wonderful classicist building in the midst of Vienna's Volksgarten, which is used by the Weltmuseum Wien (World Museum Vienna) within the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna museum association, visitors dive into a fantasy world that plays out 100 years in the future. The enchanting installations, illuminated in colors of the sea, have, however, a serious background to them. Fish, jellyfish, turtles, and aquatic plants – everything is made of plastic. Nuku shows how the ocean's animals are mutated into plastic versions of themselves. In other words, what could happen if the plastics used to excess by humans continue destroying nature. Admission is free of charge.
Oceans. Collections. Reflections.
June 23, 2022 - January 31, 2023, Weltmuseum Wien
Bottled Ocean 2122
June 23 - October 9, 2022, Theseus Temple