THIS PuBlICATION BRINGS TOGETHER THE THREE CONSECuTIVE EXHIBI- TIONS RADIANT MATTER I, II AND III By DANE MITCHEll, WHICH TOOKPlACE IN NEW ZEAlAND IN 2011 AT THE GOVETT-BREWSTER ART GAllERy IN TARANAKI, THE DuNEDIN PuBlIC ART GAllERy AND AuCKlAND’S ARTSPACE, RESPECTIVEly.
R AD I A N T M AT T E R I/II/III
Publisher Berliner Knstlerprogramm / DAAD & Artspace, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Editor Dane Mitchell Copy Editor Sriwhana Spong Design Tana Mitchell ( www.tanamitchell.com ) Photography Krzysztof Zielinski ( daadgalerie ) / Bryan James ( Govett-Brewster Art Gallery ) Bill Nichol ( Dunedin Public Art Gallery ) / Sam Hartnett ( Artspace ) Printed in Germany at Ruksaldruck Berlin Edition 1000 2011 Dane Mitchell, Berliner Knstlerprogramm / DAAD, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Govett Brewster Art Gallery, Artspace, the authors. All rights reserved, including the reproduction in whole or in part in any form. ISBN 978-3-89357-123-9
Berliner Knstlerprogramm / DAAD Markgrafenstrasse 37, D-10117 Berlin www.berliner-kuenstlerprogramm.de www.daadgalerie.de
FORE WORDAriane Beyn 9
R ADIANT MAT TER I / GOVE T T-brE wsTEr arT GallErywith text by Aaron Kreisler 31
DE RERUM NATUR ACay Sophie Rabinowitz 37
R ADIANT MAT TER II / DUNEDIN PUblIC arT GallErywith text by Aaron Kreisler 57
Tr a JECTOrIEs OF IMMaTErIalIT yChris Sharp 65
R ADIANT MAT TER III / arTsPaCEwith text by Aaron Kreisler 85
TablE OF ElEMENTsDane Mitchell 93
FORE WORD/ arIaNE bEyN
THIS PuBlICATION BRINGS TOGETHER THE THREE CONSECuTIVE EXHIBITIONS R ADIANT MAT TE R I , II AND III By DANE MITCHEll , WHICH TOOK Pl ACE IN NEW ZEAl AND IN 2011 AT THE GOVETT-BREWSTER ART GAllERy IN T AR ANAKI, THE DuNEDIN P uBlIC AR T GAllERy AND AuCKl AND S AR TSPACE, RESPECTIVEly. The titling of the three exhibitions suggests they could be followed by a local audience like movie sequels, provided they are a mobile crowd, since 1000 kilometres and the Cook Strait lie between Auckland and Dunedin. In a movie sequel the characters and settings can change or reappear, but usually certain ideas laid out in the first one are expanded throughout the following films. The text in the present publication on each of the three differing exhibitions by Aaron Kreisler provides clear evidence of Radiant
Room (2009), was the prototype of the current version now presented as part of the Radiant Matter series, and the beginning of Mitchells working relationship with Michel Roudnitska.In Minor Optics, the perfume was presented bottled in hand-blown glass vessels similar to test tubes from a laboratory, but with a manifest sculptural elegance. Only towards the end of the exhibition was the actual scent dispersed through means of a vaporiser in a one-off performance. With his research into the art and craft of perfume creation, Mitchell attempts to analyse the difficult-to-describe and resistant to sense making3 world of smells, thus providing information about what was previously unnamable or invisible in Mitchells own words, Perfume can be described as a cognitive object, a thought-object that takes
shape in the brain4. As an exercise in which the audience could actively participate, Mitchellinvited Roudnitska to give a public workshop in which the correspondence of the olfactory sense with other senses, and their relationship to memory and cognition, was explored in several revealing experiments using natural and synthetic essences. In Minor Optics, Mitchell focused on the spaces in which art is stored and presented, and their conventional effects very much in the spirit of a critique of institutional customs and pathologies. At the same time, in light of the exhibitions title and with Deleuze and Guatarris concept of minor literature in mind, the project introduced a tendency to deterritorialisation that blurs boundaries and expands the limits of perception. It is these qualities of matter and the transitional states of material that are further explored in the sequel to Minor Optics, radiant Matter I-III, and in the present publication; notably in two excellent essays by Cay Sophie Rabinowitz and Chris Sharp, and in Aaron Kreislers insightful physical account of the three exhibitions.
Matters narrative threads and lingering questions. One such thread would be Mitchellsinvestigation into marginal phenomena and transitional states an artist on the threshold 1 that largely escape customary (visual ) perception or habitual ways of thinking. using the methods of scientific logic and experimental demonstrability, Mitchell leaves clues to these marginal areas and invents forms for making them visible. If the ascending numerical titles of the three exhibitions are meant to refer to a sequel, then Dane Mitchells solo-show Minor
Optics at the daadgalerie in 2009 was a sort of pilot; the experimental ground on whichcertain ideas were played out to an audience for the first time. The daadgaleries meticulous appearance and classical architecture might have challenged Mitchell to take a closer look at the micro-areas and transitional states of matter in the exhibition space, in order to excavate properties usually concealed by the white cubes much-contested neutrality. Minor Optics contained two newly developed works, both of which, in different ways, referred reflexively to the gallery space. The first, composed of three pieces group-titled Minor Optics ( 2009 ), used electrostatically charged metal plates to accumulate dust particles, visible against the glossy lustre of the plates, over the course of the exhibition. In this way the progress of time and the presence of visitors, as well as the quality of light just as light transports
1 2 3 4
dust and is the mechanism of its dispersal 2 the movement of air and the temperatureof the space are factors potentially documented and visualised on these highly polished surfaces that constantly lure dust. In the study of the environment of art and the art space, dust represents all things organic and inorganic that materialise, since nothing is free of dusts ubiquity. The second part of the artists investigation into the realm of the dematerialised in Minor
Chris sharp, Trajectories of Immateriality, from this same publication, p. 58. Dane Mitchell, Table of Elements, Minor Optics, ( berliner Knstlerprogramm/DaaD, berlin, 2009 ), pp. 3+6. From correspondence with the artist. Dane Mitchell, Table of Elements, Minor Optics, ( berliner Knstlerprogramm/DaaD, berlin, 2009 ), pp. 3+6.
Optics was the creation of a scent using the traditional process of perfume composition.Working with the French perfumer Michel Roudnitska, Mitchell developed a synthetic scent that corresponds closely to the smell of an empty exhibition space. The smell of an Empty
R AD I A N T M AT T E R I/ GOVE T T-brE wsTEr arT GallEry
THErE Is a bUNKEr-lIKE QUalIT y TO THE GallEry THaT DaNE MITCHEll Has bEEN allOCaTED FOr R ADIANT MATTER I , aT THE GOVETT-brEwsTEr arT GallEry. The first thing you take in when you move through the glass lobby doors is a central staircase that divides the space into two clearly defined exhibition bays. The grand staircase not only creates a distinctive architectural footprint, it also sets up an overwhelming desire to transition through this space and ascend into another realm. rather than avoiding the obvious quirks of this site, Mitchell builds these factors into the delivery of his work. In fact, it is the very awkwardness of this architectural situation which provides him with the scope to test out a range of display options. From the outset it is clear that Mitchell is interested in subtly referencing the transient and multilayered aspects of this built environment, by arranging each artwork at its own distinct level. However, unity is maintained through the artists tight control of the aesthetic, material and psychological imprint of the exhibition. For example, glass becomes an important physical and allegorical trope in this presentation: it houses, supports and enacts the art experience. with your Memory of Rain Encased ( 2011 ), two sheets of glass are held together and aloft by a set of G-clamps, which both create a makeshift display table and a coffer for a synthesised smell of rain. The inherent deceit in this artwork is that what it holds or shows off is visually absent: as spectators we have to believe that what is not visually perceivable does actually exist. Under these auspices the role of the artist becomes fascinating, as audiences come to depend on his word (and by extension that of the gallery); in this context Mitchell may be considered an intermediary presence. This is most potently articulated in the perfume works, as Mitchell stages a host of situations for encountering these substances. The most striking example in the your Memory of Rain series ( 2010/2011 ), presents a sleek silver tube on a glass pedestal, which insulates the scent from exposure to UV light. In spite of the latent signs that this is a highly regulated operation, in particular the art gallerys ability to create a hermetically sealed environment, the location of this artwork near the foyer entrance allows an intermittent ambient factor into this artwork. at a deeper level it could be argued that Mitchell is interested in creating a series of clinical studies, which rely on social interactions to both initiate and determine a set of unknowable results. Mitchells appreciation of his audiences role as both active participant and passive recipient is played out with cunning guile in your Memory ofRain Released ( 2011 ). Having generated a series of alluring propositions, through the
their curiosity by getting up close and personal with the artwork, while also becoming the object of spectacle for other gallery visitors. The final artwork in this side of the gallery is in many respects the groundwork for all the components that e