Ever since he took out first prize at the Waikato National Contemporary Art Awards back in 2009, esoteric artist Dane Mitchell has been making waves, single-handedly stimulating a public conversation about art with his thought-provoking practice. Having recently returned from Berlin, his new show, Aeromancy, opening this Friday at Hopkinson Mossman, brings together two major bodies of work: one he begun in 2003 and the other that has developed over the past three years.
The latter, Sketches of Meteorological Phenomena, comprises hundreds of thunderbolt-like glass fulgurites (tentacle-like glass objects, created instantaneously when lightning strikes sand or particular soils), sketches of which Mitchell has ‘drawn’ using undulating sand, the aim being to re-enact the transformation of light to solid form. For Aeromancy, the gallery becomes a lightning field, littered with impossibly fragile glass tendrils to resemble a complex taxonomy of archaeological findings, root systems, rain-made-concrete, frozen water, or tentacles.
In the small gallery, Mitchell presents three large-scale photographic prints, each depicting a single petri dish containing the cultured growth of a dust sample from certain museums, in this case MoMA, Stedelijk and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The images draw from a larger Dust Archive project, comprising dust samples collected by Mitchell from sixty different institutions over a 15-year period.
Long fascinated by dust and with an ongoing interest in the viewing body ‘as an unpredictable force’, this existential exhibition is a reminder of the eternal audience: “for we all come from dust, and to dust we shall return.”
Aeromancy will be showing from 30th June – 29th July.
19 Putiki St
(09) 358 0855