A Guest, A Host
Galerie West, Den Haag, The Netherlands
A Guest, A Host, 2008
Den Haag, The Netherlands
With the aid of an initiated a witch Dane Mitchell conjures the spirit of Spinoza* to Galerie West. A Guest, A Host Mitchell’s first solo exhibition in the Netherlands, gives space to 'other ways or knowing'.
In the classic town house in which Galerie West is situated Mitchell uses its key architectural elements – the fireplaces and following the instructions of the witch he has utilized various elements; including glass, gravedirt, sulphur and the remnants of needles and candles to create subtle works that are fulfilled by the viewer.
The artist attempts to call the spirit of Spinoza to the gallery – the contradictory views of Spinoza and New Age thinking form a challenge – the incompatibility of these two views become a compelling trope for Mitchell’s visual language and approach.
Mitchell has also cast several spells as objects of glass. During the process of glassblowing Mitchell has spoken the spells into the molten glass – the form of these delicate objects determined by the uttered words. The exhibition also brings together several diagrammatic schema and encased materials employed in the invocation of Spinoza.
These works fit into the methodology of Mitchell’s practice in which he examines forms of knowledge and power. Processes from the field of bacteriology, anthropology, geology and parapsychology are used and by revealing and concealing habits and patterns he comments on mechanisms in the development of cultural practices.