Oceans. Collections. Reflections.

George Nuku

23 June 2022 to 31 January 2023
The Weltmuseum Wien presents the most comprehensive exhibition to date of the artist George Nuku, his first show in Austria. The installation project, entitled Oceans. Collections. Reflections. extends over seven rooms in the museum’s main galleries. Each room deals with different themes, which all revolve around relationships and change. An installation about the Corona pandemic can be seen in the Hall of Columns of the museum. Concurrently, the artist presents the installation Bottled Ocean 2122 in the Theseus Temple in Vienna’s Volksgarten.


Find out everything you need to know about your visit.

About the exhibition

About the exhibition

This installation project spans seven different spaces within the Weltmuseum Wien, beginning in the Hall of Columns and taking the viewer on a journey through several exhibition galleries.  Nuku brings together collections from Vienna’s Natural History Museum and the Weltmuseum Wien. These are linked and melded with Nuku’s own creations, hand carved from Plexiglass and Polystyrene. The result is a journey through time and space. Each room presents its own theme, a world unto itself, yet each is intimately linked to the preceding and subsequent spaces. Nuku’s ideas and works express the inseparability of both nature and culture.

The exhibition project not only speaks about its place within the museum, but it is about the museum itself – both the Weltmuseum Wien and institutions in general. Themes and topics such as relationships between museums and “source communities”, of repatriation, de-colonization, resolution between parties, and ultimately, pathways forward are being addressed. The project presented here in Vienna can be seen as the culmination of Nuku’s career in progress – spanning more than 120 major projects globally – and of a continuing desire to share his accumulated wealth of experience with all audiences both fully and equally. 

Daily except Wednesday
10 am to 6 pm

10 am to 9 pm

Weltmuseum Wien

1010 Vienna, Austria

Exhibition Catalogue
George Nuku. Oceans. Collections. Reflections.
€ 20.00

Accompanying programme

Our events from

Children & FamilyWeltmuseum Wien FriendsSchools & KindergartenOceans. Collections. Reflectios.


Book a customized guided tour through this exhibition.

+43 1 534 30 - 5150
(Mon. to Fri. 9 am - 1 pm)

Appointments up to 2 weeks in advance

Bottled Ocean 2122 at Theseus tempel

Bottled Ocean 2122

at Theseus Temple from 22 June to 9 October 2022

George Nuku brings to the Theseus Temple, the latest rendition of his Bottled Ocean concept. As the title suggests, it is an idea set 100 years in the future. A vision of ocean life fully mutated due to the proliferation of plastics affecting the marine world. The setting inside the Theseus temple, is a submarine sunken temple. The walls lined with carved depictions of divinities representing Water, Air, Earth, Fire, Wind, and Sea interspersed with Ocean guardians. In the underwater temple swim plastic mutated versions of rays, sharks, pelagic fish, and jellyfish among plastic coral reef formations. The empty plastic bottles, transformed into lifeforms of toxic beauty, cause the viewer to be enchanted and disturbed by Nuku’s presentation of pollution as an artistic and cultural treasure. The underlying message conveyed is one of change: changing our relationship with this material we have created that now permeates every part of our world. 

More information

Opening hours
Theseus Temple

Open daily from 11 am to 6 pm

About the artist

About the artist

George Nuku (b. 1964) is currently one of the leading contemporary artist in Aotearoa/New Zealand. He is Māori of Scottish and German descent. George Nuku works with stone, bones, wood, shells, polystyrene, and plexiglas. His works range from delicate, hand-carved amulets made of pearls, jade, bones, and plastic to life-sized sculptures of stone and plexiglas as well as multi-level polystyrene installations representing Polynesian half-gods and heroes from Māori culture. His art form carries forward the tradition of his ancestors that has been passed on for millennia, promising to expand life and improve survival.

Nuku studied art, sociology, geography, and Māori studies at Massey University in New Zealand, deciding that his main interest lay in art, especially sculpture. In the course of his 35-year artistic career, Nuku has created works for museums, art institutions, cultural centres, galleries, traditional Māori cultural spaces, for festivals and for private commissioners. His works have been on show in numerous exhibitions in New Zealand and throughout the world, including, among others, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Taiwan, and New York. The current exhibition at Weltmuseum Wien is George Nuku's first exhibition in Austria.

Coloring pages

Colour the ocean!

The ocean is the main theme of George Nuku's exhibition. He ist home to a variety of animals. Be creative and decide what colour a whale, a shark or an octopus have. Click on the individual pictures to download and print them out. Nothing stands in the way of your painting fun.

Get involved!

Get involved

George Nuku follows a participatory approach in his working method and worked together with volunteers to create his artistic positions for the exhibitions at the Weltmuseum Wien and Theseus Temple.
From 21 March 2022 to the exhibition opening on 22 June, over 190 people have worked on the exhibition with George.

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks once again to all those who have helped so generously and with such commitment!




Do you still have unanswered questions? Find the answers to frequently asked questions here. For further clarification, contact Felix Abrudan at felixeliah.abrudan@khm.at .


Do I need any craft or artistic training to participate?

No. A certain level of skill and confidence with tools is perfectly adequate as we will train you in all the techniques that will be used.


Can I drop in spontaneously?

Registration beforehand is requested, but in exceptional cases you can also drop in spontaneously.


Can I bring friends at short notice?

Yes, very much so. Everyone is welcome! But please try to register via email beforehand.


Can I also bring children?

It is possible, but children under 14 must be under the supervision of a parent or guardian at all times and may only take part in the work together with an adult.


What do I need to bring to work?

Please wear clothes that can get dirty or a work apron to protect clothes from dirt and stains.


Do I have to bring my own tools?

No, please do not bring your own utensils. All working tools will be provided by the museum.


May I take photographs during the work?

Yes, with the exception of views of finished exhibition spaces. We don't want to spoil future visitors' anticipation of the exhibition.

If you share pictures on Facebook or Instagram, we would be happy if you link our account @weltmuseumwien and use the following hashtags: #OceansCollectionsReflections #GeorgeNuku


My English is not so good. How will I communicate with George Nuku?

Don't worry, our volunteer supervisor Felix will be happy to translate.


Do I get a time confirmation for university?

Yes, we are happy to issue a time confirmation. We ask that you let us know in advance if a confirmation is needed.


How often should I come?

As often as you like. We are happy for volunteers to come more often.


I can no longer come, or have to cancel at short notice, what should I do?

If you have to cancel at short notice, please send Felix Abrudan a text message via +43 664 605 14 5139 or call him.


I cannot plan my time availability well in advance. How can I still participate?

We are happy to reschedule your volunteering every week, from one week to the next.


It's my first day as a volunteer, where should I go?

Just come to the main entrance of the Weltmuseum Wien at Heldenplatz and report to the museum ticket desk in the entrance area of the museum.


Behind the scenes



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