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An Unbroken Surface, 2024

Gertrude Glasshouse, Naarm Melbourne, Australia

An Unbroken Surface (isomeric landscape), 2024

4000 Little Trees (Alpha-isomethyl ionone,

Linalool, Limonene, Citronellol, Geraniol)

Dimensions variable

An Unbroken Surface (tar), 2024

Pine tar, atomiser, HVAC tripod

Dimensions variable

An Unbroken Surface is a new exhibition by Dane Mitchell accompanied by an original text by Hsuan L. Hsu.

Mitchell has been exploring the possibilities of aroma and its molecules to summon up experiences and reveal unseen worlds for over fifteen years and his new exhibition extends this line of enquiry to produce a heady, pungent, all-encompassing sculptural structure that permeates the viewers body and infiltrates the volume of the gallery.


An Unbroken Surface makes deliberate use of two consumer fragrance materials to reveal a certainty: the distance between the synthetic and the natural is collapsing. This new exhibition explores the different atmospheres we inhabit and how they not only colour our relation to the world but are determined by it. Through a single, focused work in the gallery space, Mitchell uses a synthetic aroma perhaps more recognisable in its synthetic form than the natural fragrance it replicates and repudiates. The overpowering aromascape encountered in the space might be considered an attempt at rewilding the gallery through through synthetic means, or an expression of a desire for an experience of wilderness.

Most museums and galleries smell of nothing, but the volatile compounds of An Unbroken Surface surround and subsume the viewer and space and operate like a contagion. They produce an overwhelming sensorial pollution within that permeates beyond Gertrude Glasshouse.

Mitchell’s ongoing interest in scent and smell is bound up in its ability to dwell on multiple thresholds— vision, physicality, affect, time, dimensionality — and its primal status among the senses.

Smell is resistant to sense-making, conjures the unseen, is temporal and disruptive. It throws up an array of “dizzying epistemological conundrums” (Michael Taussig, Mimesis and Alterity, 1993) that build complicated, fusional relationships between the world and our bodies.

On the final weekend of the exhibition, a crime scene cleaning specialist company will deodorise the gallery utilising an ozone generator over a twenty-four hour period. The gallery cannot be entered during this time, but the action can be viewed through the windows as a punctuating, final event.

Further text here.

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