Hours of operation

Dane Mitchell
An Unbroken Surface

Installation view of An Unbroken Surface by Dane Mitchell, presented at Gertrude Glasshouse, 2024. Photo: Christian Capurro
Installation view of An Unbroken Surface by Dane Mitchell, presented at Gertrude Glasshouse, 2024. Photo: Christian Capurro

17 May -
8 June 2024

Gertrude Glasshouse

44 Glasshouse Road, Collingwood

Opening Event: 
Thursday 16 May, 6 – 8pm

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.

Dane Mitchell was Aotearoa New Zealand’s representative at the 58th Venice Biennale. He has presented solo exhibitions at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; daadgalerie, Berlin, Germany; Institut D’Art Contemporain, Lyon, France; Te Papa, Wellington, New Zealand; Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Auckland, New Zealand; Govett-Brewster, New Plymouth, New Zealand; Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, Australia; SAM Sound Art Museum, Beijing, China; Adam Art Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand; RaebervonStenglin, Zurich, Switzerland; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Los Angeles, United States; Artspace, Auckland, New Zealand; A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Galerie West, Den Haag, The Netherlands amongst many others.

He has participated in several biennales, including Venice Biennale (2019); Biennale of Sydney (2016); Liverpool Biennial (2012); Bangkok Biennale (2020); Gwangju Biennale (2012); Singapore Biennale (2011); Thailand Biennale (2018); Ljubljana Biennale (2011), Sao Paulo Biennale (2004); Busan Biennale (2010), Klontal Triennale (2014), Rio Biennial (2015) and Tarra Warra Biennial (2008).

Recent curated exhibitions include those at Institut D’Art Contemporain (2024); Ludwig Museum (2022); Tai Kwun Contemporary (2022); University of Queensland Museum of Art (2023); Skulpturen Köln, Köln, Germany (ongoing); Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (2024).

Dane Mitchell is incoming Coordinator BFA Honours at VCA, University of Melbourne and is represented by The Renshaws (AUS).

Public Program
Dane Mitchell. Image: Adam Luxton

Cancelled – In Conversation: Dane Mitchell and Mark Feary

Artist TalkSaturday 1 June, 6amGertrude Glasshouse

Please note this event has been cancelled due to inclement weather. Due to the nature of the exhibition the artist talk is situated outdoors. This cancellation is a precaution for the health and comfort of audiences. 

Join Gertrude Artistic Director Mark Feary and artist Dane Mitchell in conversation on Friday 7 June at 4pm on the occasion of the exhibition An Unbroken Surface at Gertrude Glasshouse.

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Installation view of An Unbroken Surface by Dane Mitchell, presented at Gertrude Glasshouse, 2024. Photo: Christian Capurro

Pining Away

Growing up in Southern California, I spent an extraordinary amount of time in cars: twenty minutes to the store, a half hour to high school or the movie theater. Outside the car, the air might be filled with smog and diesel fumes; inside, the incongruous but pleasant scent of Royal Pine. Little Trees held up the experience of the car as a bubble sealed off from the air outside, cushioned from the consequences of its own fuel combustion. Inside the car, your senses were transported to a non-place1; you could smell something like pine trees even when surrounded by auto exhaust in a semi-arid climate.

By Hsuan L. Hsu

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Gertrude Glasshouse is generously supported by Michael Schwarz and David Clouston.

The 2024 Gertrude Glasshouse Program is supported by the City of Yarra.

This exhibition has been generously supported by Creative New Zealand.

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Gertrude Contemporary

Wurundjeri Country
21-31 High Street
Preston South VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm

Gertrude Glasshouse

Wurundjeri Country
44 Glasshouse Road
Collingwood VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Thursday–Saturday 12–5pm