2020

Meanwhere

Mossman, Wellington, New Zealand

1/15

Meanwhere 1, 2020
digital c-type print
2300 x 1270mm

Meanwhere 3, 2020

digital c-type print

2300 x 1270mm

Meanwhere 6, 2020

digital c-type print

2300 x 1270mm

Meanwhere 9, 2020

digital c-type print

2300 x 1270mm

Meanwhere 10, 2020

digital c-type print

2300 x 1270mm

For Meanwhere, Mitchell presents five large-scale, high-gloss digital c-type photographic prints that cascade down the gallery walls to touch the floor. At first sight they appear like auric fields, impressions of geological stratification, or perhaps ghostly aberrations caught on film (all contexts the artist has used as material in earlier works), yet conversely the photographic medium is employed here for its empirical quality. The artist presents us with an actuality: a direct scan of the entry/exit points of several building doorways. Tilted and enlarged to a scale overbearing to the body, they appear like doorways or portals, or perhaps stand-ins for psychological thresholds.

Countless invisible transitions happen across these ordinary doorway spaces in a day, typically without contemplation. At each physical threshold Mitchell has placed a flat-bed scanner across the doorway, the prints document this direct encounter. The specifics of these thresholds are not evident – what they might separate, or connect, and why they have been selected, whether incidental or symbolic. What is clear is the subtle divergence in each image, they are capturing not just the hardware of the doorway, but also invisible fragments of light, dust, and darkness, revealing concealed cosmologies.

These doorways are repositories for incidental marks (gouges, scratches, scrapes, dents) borne from the impact of foot traffic across time. Doorways in our current context bare silent witness to the significant impact of imperceptible forces, particularly the risk of contamination between bodies. Mitchell’s longstanding interest in the viewing body as an unpredictable force – as a subjective element within a supposedly objective system – but also as a potential contaminant is evident here. While the prints are palpably mysterious objects, their textures uncertain (or defamiliarised), they are also a concrete reminder of how bodies have been temporarily de-mobilised.

Thresholds (of experience, perception and knowability) have played an ongoing role in Mitchell’s work. He has often mined the potential for a sixth sense — that intuitive faculty that produces an awareness not rationally explicable — to make visible invisible systems constantly at play around us. Imperceivable thresholds and unseeable phenomena (lists of disappeared things transmitted on radio waves; microscopic dust particles cultured into painterly surfaces; scent sculptures infiltrating the body; physical traces of occult practices) are wrangled by Mitchell into tangible forms and presented as sculptural objects and images.

Dane Mitchell ©  2020