Radiant Matter Part II
28 May 2011 - 28 August 2011
The second in a trilogy of exhibitions by Dane Mitchell, which unfold across a series of public art spaces in New Plymouth, Dunedin and Auckland, Radiant Matter Part II continues the artist’s exploration of ideas and substances that hover at the edge of perception, physicality, affect and time. Conceived and generated over the last year, and viewable consecutively at the sites above, each exhibition operates and functions in an autonomous manner, yet shares similar aesthetic, conceptual and material concerns.
In Radiant Matter Part II Mitchell’s investigation focuses on liminal spaces where occult activities, memory 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 synthetic scentthe base notes of which allude to a bodily (ghostly) presence, and a lingering sense 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 or the fragile remains from a musical lament, 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 installation that raises questions about systems of belief, without providing a clear pathway of solutions or resolutions for audiences. In this installation, 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, where a set of gallery stanchions 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.