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NZ confirms Dane Mitchell’s exhibition for Biennale Arte 2019

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

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.

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