press release

One of the most highly regarded contemporary artists to emerge from New Zealand in recent years, Dane Mitchell is currently back in his home country where he has been working on a trilogy of exhibitions over the last eight months. The Radiant Matter series has been conceived and generated for three public galleries across New Zealand, each operating in autonomous ways and yet sharing similar aesthetic, conceptual and material concerns. The 2nd in this series Radiant Matter Part II sees a continuation of this artist’s exploration of ideas and substances which hover at the edge of perception, physicality, affect and time.

In Radiant Matter Part II, Mitchell’s investigation focuses on liminal spaces where occult activities, transformative materials and shadowy elements coalesce. The artist conjures up an assortment of seemingly eclectic substances; from a witch’s spell to a splinter of volcanic glass, through to a synthesised scent designed with French perfumer Michel Roudnitska, the base notes of which allude to a bodily (ghostly) presence, and a lingering hint of dust. Under these conditions the gallery becomes the storehouse for a collection of curious specimens and objects; vials of dirt make reference to genealogical lines, globules of glass are literal renderings of speech bubbles (in which the artist speaks into molten glass) or the fragile remains from a musical lament (bagpipes are connected to the glassblower’s blowpipe), and a seemingly empty museum cabinet contains a perfume the artist describes as a molecular sculpture—a hologram of an object that takes shape in the brain.

This is a speculative and provocative exhibition that raises questions about systems of belief and frames the unseen, without providing a clear pathway of solutions or resolutions. In this exhibition, museology, science and the dark arts co-exist on the same plateau; they converge, feed back and fold into one another. This is most clearly articulated in Gateway to the Etheric Realm 2011, where multiple enclosures barely contain, or conversely come to embody, the unknown and imperceptible sphere they are designed to protect. In Mitchell’s hands the most ephemeral states and conditions are momentarily captured, given form and displayed, so that audiences can wonder, desire and ruminate over the remains.

Dane Mitchell was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1976 and works in Auckland and Berlin. He was a 2009/2010 resident on the Berliner Kunstlerprogramm DAAD, Berlin, Germany; 2010 resident at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand and part of the Visiting Artist Programme at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin, New Zealand in 2011.

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Dane Mitchell
Radiant Matter Part II
Ort: Dunedin Public Art Gallery