Dead words. Extinct species. Ghost towns. Former nations. Destroyed art works…What do these things have in common? They are a few of the countless phenomena that existed but are now no more. These disappearances are at the heart of Dane Mitchell’s project for the New Zealand pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia in 2019.
This fascination with the unseen, vanished and defunct is reflected in the title for Mitchell’s ambitious project, Post hoc, revealed at a patron event on 31 July.
“Post hoc is a distinctive project that will bring something truly different to the Art Biennale next year,” says Dame Jenny Gibbs, 2019 Commissioner and New Zealand Arts Council member.
“It’s been a delight to witness Dane and the creative team further refine his concept in recent months. I look forward to the unveiling of his completed vision next year.”
A Latin phrase used in English, ‘Post hoc’ literally translates as ‘after this’. It is used to describe the false assumption that a particular occurrence has a logical relationship with the event it follows.
In the context of Mitchell’s New Zealand Pavilion presentation, co-curated by Dr Zara Stanhope and Chris Sharp, Post hoc provocatively questions the connections between events and vanished ‘past things’.
“The project asks what our relationship might be to these things that have disappeared – lists of the vanished and bygone things of this world – and what our responsibility to this information is, leaving the question open,” says Mitchell.
He continues: “We find ourselves in a time of ‘afterness’: after nature, after extinction, after the Anthropocene [current geological age defining humanity’s impact on earth]. The project evidences this without specifying how or why.”
Pushing the boundaries of what’s expected of an exhibition at the Art Biennale, Mitchell’s exhibition will take place at several locations. Designed specifically for the city, the primary location will be the Palazzina Canonica facing Riva dei Sette Martiri, with several complementary sites throughout Venice where intriguing elements of the project will extend its reach.
The New Zealand pavilion will act as the repository and base for an automated broadcast of the vast lists of things which have disappeared, become extinct, obsolete or been destroyed, with industrially produced cell tree towers (designed to be camouflaged as trees) acting as the transmitters of information.
The Palazzina Canonica is the former headquarters of exhibition partner Istituto di Scienze Marine (CNR-ISMAR), a scientific research institution which is part of the Italian National Research Council operating in the field of marine sciences. It will be the first time the institute has partnered with a national pavilion at the Biennale Exhibitions. Its focus on the marine world – including the risks it currently faces – forms the basis for a shared interest.
“We are thrilled to establish a relationship with the Istituto di Scienze Marine and look forward to collaborating with them to bring further meaning to Dane’s project. What’s more, being near the Giardini places us in a central location to ensure we are part of the biennale dialogue,” says Dame Jenny.
“We are also pleased to have Te Papa on board once more as a key partner. We are grateful for their long-term commitment to supporting New Zealand’s presence at the Art Biennale.”
The 58th International Art Exhibition will open from May 11th to November 24th, 2019 (preview days/Vernissage: 6-10 May 2019).
New Zealand’s arts development agency, Creative New Zealand, funds and manages New Zealand’s presence at the International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia for the almost seven month duration.
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is a key partner. The New Zealand at Venice patrons generously contribute towards New Zealand’s presentation at the International Art Exhibition.
La Biennale di Venezia is widely recognised as the pre-eminent international art exhibition in the world. One of its unique features is the opportunity to exhibit as a national pavilion. In 2017, 86 countries had a presence and 615,000 visitors attended over its six month duration. Its longevity, scale and diversity eclipse any other visual arts experience.
New Zealand has exhibited at the Art Biennale since 2001 with exhibitions by Lisa Reihana (2017), Simon Denny (2015), Bill Culbert (2013), Michael Parekowhai (2011), Judy Millar (2009), Francis Upritchard (2009), et al. (2005), Michael Stevenson (2003), Peter Robinson (2001) and Jacqueline Fraser (2001).
The Instituto di Scienze Marine (ISMAR) is a research institution. It conducts research in the field of marine sciences across polar, oceanic, and Mediterranean regions.
The institute is part of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), a public organisation committed to carry out, promote, spread, transfer, and improve research activities in knowledge growth for the scientific, technological, economic, and social development of the country.
Dane Mitchell’s practice is concerned with the physical properties of the intangible and visible manifestations of other dimensions. His work teases out the potential for objects and ideas to appear and disappear, and our ability to perceive or imagine transfiguration. His practice evokes a connection between the sensual and the conscious. It speculates on what is material and explores systems of knowledge or belief and people’s experiences of them.
Dane’s exhibition history dates back to 1999; since 2008 alone he has held 29 solo exhibitions and in the same period participated in more than 50 group exhibitions. He has presented solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally in institutions in Germany, Brazil, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Australia, the United States. He has also participated in a number of biennales, including Biennale of Sydney 2016, Australia; Gwangju Biennale 2012, South Korea; Liverpool Biennial 2012, United Kingdom; Singapore Biennale 2011; Ljubljana Biennale 2011, Slovenia; Busan Biennale 2010, South Korea and the Tarrawara Biennial 2008, Australia.
He has recently held solo exhibitions at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and Institut d’Art Contemporain, Viilleurbane/Lyon; as well as participated in a citywide project in Belgium, PLAY Kortrijk. Dane has upcoming solo exhibitions at Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland; Hopkinson Mossman, Wellington; and will participate in the First Thailand Biennale, Krabi.
Zara Stanhope has more than 20 years’ curatorial experience in lead roles in art institutions in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia.
Zara is the Curatorial Manager, Asian and Pacific Art at Australia’s Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), and was Principal Curator and Head of Programmes, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki from 2013 to 2017. Previous roles include Deputy Director of Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, inaugural Director of the Adam Art Gallery at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and Assistant Director of Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne.
Her curatorial practice spans more than 70 curated and co-curated exhibitions of Australian, New Zealand and international art and she is widely published. Zara is co-curator of the ninth Asia Pacific Triennial at QAGOMA in 2018. Exhibitions of note include: Ann Shelton: Dark Matter, Space to Dream: Recent Art from South America (with Beatriz Bustos Oyanedel); Yang Fudong: Filmscapes (co-curated with Ulanda Blair); The World in Painting (touring Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Australia); Three Colours, Gordon Bennett and Peter Robinson (touring Australia and New Zealand); Slow Release: Recent Photography in New Zealand. Recent publications include commissioning editor of Ann Shelton: Dark Matter and Gordon Walters: New Vision and co-editor of Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand: The Māori Portraits and Agency and Aesthetics: Art Matter 02.
Zara holds a PhD from Australian National University and an MA from University of London, and is Adjunct Professor at both RMIT University Melbourne and AUT University Auckland.
Chris Sharp is a writer and independent curator based in Mexico City, where he and the Mexican artist Martin Soto Climent run the project space Lulu. Chris has curated a multitude of international exhibitions.
A selection of recent exhibitions includes Against Nature, co-curated with Edith Jerabkova at the National Gallery of Prague (2016); As if in a foreign country, at Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Vienna (2016); A Change of Heart, at Hannah Hoffman gallery, LA (2016); The Secret and Abiding Politics of Stones (2016) at Casa del Lago, Mexico City; The Lulennial: A Slight Gestuary at Lulu, Mexico City, co-curated with Fabiola Iza (2015); The Registry of Promise at La Fondazione Giuliani, Rome (2014), Le Parc St. Léger, Pougues-les-Eaux, France (2014) Le Crédac, Ivry, France (2014), and De Vleeshal, Middelburg, Holland (2015); The 12th Swiss Sculpture Exhibition in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, entitled Le Mouvement, co-curated with Gianni Jetzer (2014); and Manners of Matter, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg (2014).
Chris recently curated Dwelling Poetically: Mexico City, a case study at The Australian Center for Contemporary Art, as well as an exhibition at Le Nouveau Musée National de Monaco.
Formerly news editor at Flash Art International and editor-at-large of Kaleidoscope, he is a contributing editor of Art Review and of Art-Agenda.
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