press release

Dane Mitchell. Iris, Iris, Iris
01.09.2018 - 24.02.2019

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki presents Iris, Iris, Iris, a solo exhibition by Dane Mitchell, from Saturday, September 1.

Mitchell has a long-standing interest in invisible forces. Over his career this has seen him develop processes, strategies and a scientific-like enquiry into subjects ranging from the hidden workings of the gallery system to spirit forces and more recently, weather, scent and speech.

For Iris, Iris, Iris, co-commissioned by Auckland Art Gallery and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Mitchell conducted research into the encompassing world of traditional Japanese incense and Japan’s highly advanced perfume industry. Starting with the iris, a flower whose history dates back to ancient Greece, Mitchell conducts an experiment that stages a live perfume extraction process. He draws the mechanics of perfume production, which literally entrap the spirited emanations rising from objects, into a poetic play on the various meanings of the word iris—the coloured part of an eye, the adjustable aperture in a camera lens, and Iris, personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods in Greek mythology.

Within the gallery, Mitchell introduces a range of incense extraction and infusion treatments. Two fusego are used by Mitchell for their traditional purpose of infusing cloth with incense and perfume, and the cloth used has the image of the artist’s iris printed on it. An aroma molecule extraction process enabled by 21st century technology collects scents from the iris flower, an Olympus camera lens and a janome ("snake eye"), a Japanese paper umbrella with a concentric pattern produced to match the artist's iris. An iris perfume, produced in collaboration with Takasago International Corporation, is the composite bouquet of these three types of irises, and is continually agitated by an unseen force.

Finally, the scent of an iris in its traditional form manifests in the Gallery through the placement of a line of incense sticks made in collaboration with the Japanese company Shoyeido Incense Co., which has been manufacturing incense since the 18th century. This seductive line of incense—which if burnt end to end would take 10 years to turn into smoke—extends like a scent trail through the nearby display of artwork from the Gallery's collection, interjecting into that art viewing experience.

Iris, Iris, Iris was co-commissioned by Auckland Art Gallery and Mori Art Museum, with support from Creative New Zealand’s Asia/New Zealand Co-commissioning Fund. Production support was provided by Shoyeido Incense Co. and Takasago International Corporation. Additional support for the Auckland exhibition was provided by Auckland Art Gallery’s Contemporary Benefactors. Exhibition commissioners for this project were Mami Kataoka, Chief Curator, Mori Art Museum, and Zara Stanhope, former Head of Curatorial, Auckland Art Gallery.

Mitchell will be representing New Zealand at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019.

Dane Mitchell
Dane Mitchell (born 1976, Auckland) has been included in major group exhibitions worldwide including: Sydney Biennale, Sydney (2016); Klontal Triennale, Künsthaus Glarus, Switzerland (2014); Liverpool Biennial (2012); Gwangju Biennale (2012); Singapore Biennial (2011); and Busan Biennale (2010). He has participated in residency programmes at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin (2011); Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2010); Berliner Künstlerprogramm DAAD, Berlin (2009/2010); and Gasworks, London (2008). Recent solo exhibitions include: Dane Mitchell, Institut d’art contemporain, Villeurbanne, France (2018);All Whatness is Wetness, RaebervonStenglin, Zürich (2015); Fourfold Threshold, Encounters, Art Basel Hong Kong (2015); Other Explications, Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland (2013); Conservation of Mass, RaebervonStenglin, Zürich (2013); Radiant Matter III, Artspace, Auckland (2011); Radiant Matter II, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin (2011); Radiant Matter I, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2011); and Minor Optics, daadgalerie, Berlin (2009).