Thresholds: Rita Angus Cottege
Litmus Foundation, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
Thresholds: Rita Angus Cottege, 2008
Litmus FOundation, Massey University
Wellington, New Zealand
Auckland artist Dane Mitchell has brought Rita Angus back from the dead. Hear for the first time the communion between a reputable clairvoyant and Angus recorded by Mitchell in the deceased artists old Wellington residence.
The potential paranormal scope and history of the Rita Angus Cottage in Wellington forms the basis of Thresholds: Rita Angus Cottage. This comprises a body of work by Dane Mitchell which was undertaken during the '2006 Massey University/Rita Angus Visual Artist-in-Residence'. It is now exhibited in the city in which Rita Angus studied.
Paranormal response is a growing pre-occupation of our times. From recent television series’ to the recent acknowledgement by the New Zealand Police force of the assistance of a local clairvoyant in the tracking of a missing pensioner in Palmerston North, the currency of such methods of information gathering are both topical and contestable. Mixing paranormal interpretations with museological affect, Mitchell’s research takes audio recordings from a Wellington-based psychic’s readings of the Rita Angus's Cottage and grounds as a starting point to tactfully explore the site’s history. Remarkably, Mitchell’s research also unearths Angus’ gravesite, the location of which was unknown by Angus scholars until his discovery.
Incorporating a variety of media including sound recordings, video, and rubbings on paper, Thresholds: Rita Angus Cottage presents diverse and involved research into a sense of “presence”, time and display. For those prepared to consider the mystical, through to perhaps the more skeptical among us, Mitchell’s work moves reliably, from a considered critical enquiry to a blithe take on site and history.