08 May 2019
New Zealand’s pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia featuring Dane Mitchell’s Post hoc, was officially opened in Venice this morning (NZ time).
At the heart of Post hoc, is the materialisation of 260 individually researched lists of defunct phenomena – calling entities to the surface momentarily, for them to fall back into silence.
From dead words, to shipwrecks, to banned and forbidden foods, the lists comprising tens of thousands of items are read for eight hours every day, over the seven months of the exhibition. The automated incantation will be transmitted continuously from the hub of the New Zealand pavilion, located at Palazzina Canonica on the water’s edge of Riva dei Sette Martiri, to four other sites across Venice. In sync with the transmission, word by word the names of bygone things are printed onto rolls of paper inside the historic (emptied) library of the Palazzina Canonica, gradually and allusively filling its space. At any of the tree towers, a list can be selected and streamed on a handheld device when within the field of each tree’s wifi network (posthoc.co).
Artist Dane Mitchell said, “in the short time the network of cell-phone tree towers has been embedded in the five locations across the city of Venice, it’s been thrilling taking in the incredibly dynamic audience responses. Rather beautifully, in this art-saturated context, they are mistaken for infrastructure, whereby viewers have been asking themselves: what is this, what is it doing, what is it emitting?”
“There has also been an incredible level of intrigue as to the magnitude and subjective nature of the list at the heart of Post hoc, and a sense of what’s to come as the library slowly fills with the printed names of the lost, obsolete, absent and withdrawn,” he added.
Commissioner, Dame Jenny Gibbs, said “over the period of New Zealand’s presence at the Biennale Arte in Venice, I have witnessed our increasing confidence as we bring Aotearoa’s contemporary visual art to this prestigious event and the international audience it attracts.”
“Each New Zealand presentation, since they began in 2001, has been ambitious and unique in its execution. Dane Mitchell’s Post hoc continues his innovative practice, inviting us to consider the nature of existence and obsolescence – and doing that in his clever, idiosyncratic way,” she added.
New Zealand’s Ambassador-Designate to Italy, Mr Anthony Simpson, will speak at a function hosted by the Commissioner on 10 May. This will be the final event during the Vernissage (preview) before the exhibition opens to the public on 11 May.
“As the world’s premier event in contemporary art, the Venice Biennale is an incredible opportunity for New Zealand to showcase its artists to the world,” said Ambassador-Designate Simpson. “The themes of this year’s exhibition are particularly relevant to the challenges facing the world today and will resonate with a global audience,” he said.
The official opening of the New Zealand pavilion is the culmination of more than two years of work to present at the Venice Biennale. Over 200 guests were in attendance including visual arts professionals, media, New Zealand at Venice patrons, international and national partners and sponsors.
Creative New Zealand funds and manages New Zealand’s presence at the Biennale Arte for the almost seven-month duration and is pleased to again be working with Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa as key partner, and for the first time with exhibition partner, Istituto di Scienze Marine (Institute of Marine Science). The project team would like to thank our generous sponsors, and the New Zealand at Venice patrons, led by Leigh Melville.
The Biennale Arte 2019 is open to the public from 11 May to 24 November.
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