Dane Mitchell at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (New Plymouth, New Zealand)

Dane Mitchell: Radiant Matter Part 1
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
March 5 – May 29, 2011

Perfumes, vaporisers and de-humidifiers form the base of the Govett-Brewster’s latest exhibition Dane Mitchell: Radiant Matter Part 1.

The Gallery’s New Zealand Artist in Residence Dane Mitchell investigates materials in states of transition.

The artist engages with the notion of the ‘vaporous’, as suspended in the air, in a state between matter and gas that teeters on the invisible.

Working with a perfumer in Spain and a glass-blower in Whanganui for the Govett-Brewster exhibition, Mitchell plays with making the intangible tangible and with the possibilities of perfume’s ability to fill space sculpturally.

Mitchell’s work explores immaterial elements that sit on a threshold of visibility.

“I’m interested in the sculptural possibilities of perfume, that is, thinking about it as a dispersed or dissolved object,” Mitchell says.

“Expanding in the air, filling space with vapors and molecules, it dwells on thresholds – of vision, of physicality, of affect, of time and dimensionality. It’s the only sculptural form that literally enters the brain,” he says.

Curator Mercedes Vicente says Mitchell’s interest in the immaterial properties of perfume, as ‘a cognitive object’, and in glass for its in-between states of liquid and solid forms, continues his search into the nature of sculpture.

“It impels new ways to engage with the viewer’s imagination, physicality, phenomenological experience of these ephemeral works,” Ms Vicente says.

In the past Mitchell collaborated with French perfume-maker Michel Roudnitska to develop synthetic scents such as that of an empty room, an open space and electric discharge. For this exhibition the artist has developed a scent of rain.

Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says the project furthers the Govett-Brewster’s commitment to offering significant opportunities to foremost New Zealand artists through its longstanding residency programme.

The Auckland-based artist recently completed a DAAD Fellowship in Berlin. His work featured in the 2010 Gwangju Biennale and will be included in the 2011 Singapore Biennale.

Radiant Matter Part 1 is the first of a set of three exhibitions. Radiant Matter Part 2 will be presented at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery in May and Radiant Matter Part 3 at Artspace, Auckland in July. All three share similar conceptual and artistic concerns but can be seen isolated from one another. A new publication will address all three exhibitions.

The exhibition is curated by Mercedes Vicente and is presented from March 5 – May 29, 2011.