Nicola Gunn works across contemporary performance, choreography, theatre and socially-engaged art as a performance artist, writer, director, choreographer, facilitator and dramaturg since 2002. She makes live performances, videos, objects, site-specific events, installations and books; and has collaborated with dancers, choreographers, actors, anthropologists, indigenous language archivists, comic book artists, translators, children, architects, senior citizens and the audience. Within her solo practice, she borrows from theatrical, choreographic, literary, comedic and visual art languages to create a mode of contemporary performance that plays with form, bends narrative and makes an effort to solve a problem. The guiding principle of these works is an attempt to productively pull apart whatever is going on with her or whatever interests her at the time. Often these things are one and the same. She often uses subversive, humorous, choreographic and philosophical tactics to come at things from a moral and ethical standpoint and uses language simply to convey a hidden and modest complexity. Within her social practice, she is interested in people and relationships first and foremost and how to use art as a tool for social transformation. Exploring wide-ranging topics including power, language, gentrification, displacement, the problem of intimacy and exposure, peace and conflict, her work attempts to intermingle material and context, complicating relationships between self, subject and viewer in the process.
Nicola has been commissioned and produced by theatre, dance and museum contexts internationally. Recent works include Working with Children (2020, 2018), Say you host a late-night talk show (2020), Passenger (2017), Mermermer (2016) and Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster (2015). Her work has been shown in 19 countries and presented by festivals and venues including Biennale Venezia di Danza, HAU / Tanz im August, Southbank Centre, Dublin Theatre Festival, Tanzquartier Wien, La Villette, Le Grütli, PuSh Festival, PS122’s Coil Festival, Santarcangelo Festival, Black Box Teater Oslo, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Malthouse Theatre, MTC and National Gallery of Victoria International among others.
Major awards include a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship, Australia Council Theatre Fellowship, Sidney Myer Fellowship, Norsk Kulturådet Arbeidsstipend, Playking Asia Travel Grant, and an Australia Council Emerging Artist Fellowship.
Nicola’s formal education is in theatre and contemporary performance and she has an MA in Art in Public Space from RMIT. She is currently an Associate Professor in Time-based Art at the Art Academy of the University of Bergen in Norway.