Tacita Dean at Arcadia University Art Gallery
Art Gallery’s website describes the film and the exhibition as follows-
“JG is a sequel in technique to FILM, Dean’s 2011 project for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. It is inspired by her correspondence with British author J.G. Ballard (1930-2009) regarding connections between Robert Smithson’s iconic earthwork and film Spiral Jetty (both works, 1970) and Ballard’s short story The Voices of Time (1960). The new 26-minute work is a looped 35mm anamorphic film shot on location in the saline landscapes of Utah and Southern California using Dean’s recently developed and patented system of aperture gate masking. A radical departure from her previous 16mm films, JG tries to respond to Ballard’s challenge, posed to her shortly before he died, that Dean should “treat the Spiral Jetty as a mystery her film would solve.”
JG will be on view from February 7 through April 21, 2013
Lecture by Tacita Dean: Thursday, February 7
Introducing Tacita Dean
We have compiled an annotated list of links to relevant works on and by Tacita Dean. This is meant as an introduction to the artist and the exhibition. These are links to pieces found online and in some cases, citations to print pieces. Compiled and annotated by Samantha Nickalls who, as we speak, is on her way to University of Queensland in Brisbane to continue her Global Media studies.
Tacita Dean and JG Ballard
Tacita Dean’s film project will be featured in Arcadia University’s art gallery. JG, which is somewhat of a sequel to Dean’s Turbine Hall production FILM, is named after J.G. Ballard, who she had correspondence with before his death. The article talks about her techniques and processes during the making of the film.
Tacita Dean speaks of her relationship with JG Ballard, including its formation and their conversations about art, which had a great influence on her work. She explains their mutual interest in one artist in particular, Robert Smithson.
Ballard, J.G. “Time and Tacita Dean.” Tacita Dean: Recent Films and Other Works. Tate Britain London, 2001.
J.G. Ballard on Tacita Dean’s works, trying to make sense of them and place them into a time frame as he ponders about the story behind them. He comments on Dean’s writing as well as her interest in time itself.
Tacita Dean explains how JG Ballard has influenced her and her work and speaks about her correspondence with the late writer and her attempts to get his opinions about her ideas.
There is much to catch up on J. G. Ballard and cinema. For all things “Ballardian,” see Dr. Simon Sellars’s Ballardian.com.
International House in Philadelphia will be screening “Three favorite films of J. G. Ballard chosen by Claire Walsh and presented by Tacita Dean.” For more information, visit International House.
On Tacita Dean
This is Tacita Dean’s bibliography on Tate Modern’s site. It is relatively brief, not concentrating on her personal writing, but rather on her career and methods as an artist as well as the awards she has won over the past few decades.
Compiled by Frith Street Gallery in London, this is a timeline on Tacita Dean. It first briefly covers the basics of Tacita Dean’s life, and then covers her solo exhibitions, selected group exhibitions, awards, and commissions/public projects. It also includes a bibliography, articles, reviews, and public collections.
Marian Goodman Gallery in New York holds a concurrent exhibition from February 1-through March 9. Here is a brief account of her recent shows and a downloadable PDF of her biography.
By Tacita Dean
Tacita Dean explains her choice of her 2011 Christmas paper design and her artistic process of using a German postcard that’s over 100 years old in this brief article in The Guardian. Dean found the postcard in her old collection.
After discovering that 16mm film is no longer being printed in Soho Film Lab, Tacita Dean must produce her work for Turbine Hall outside of Britain, which she finds unacceptable. Dean explains her position on celluloid film in this piece in The Guardian: let it coexist with digital. They are different mediums and cannot be compared, and for art’s sake, celluloid must continue to be produced. This piece is crucial to understanding Dean’s approach to celluloid.
Tacita Dean discusses her favorite films, her opinions on their quality, and how they have influenced her over her lifetime. She discusses various works by Chantal Akerman, Marguerite Duras, Alain Resnais, Thomas Vinterberg, Derek Jarman, and Werner Herzog. You tube clips and her commentary are included.
Dean, Tacita. “Remembering: A Tribute to Merce.” Art in America. October 2009.
Tacita Dean writes about working with Merce Cunningham, a well-known choreographer who passed away shortly after they filmed together. Dean shares memories she has of him during his final months as well as her experience. She explains her “unique position” of being able to collaborate with him even after his death via editing her film.
Quite brief; this is about Simon Crowhurst and two disappearances in his life: that of his father, amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst and that of another man, Bas Jan Ader, six years later. This story is connected to one of her pieces, Disappearance at Sea (1996).
Tacita Dean Interviews
Karen Wright speaks with Tacita Dean about her frustrations with Hollywood after it was announced that film will stop being produced. She compares it to other forms of art (printing vs. painting) and sheds light on the issue in this interview.
Tacita Dean and Coline Millard converse about Tacita Dean’s Tate Modern project and its deeper meanings: to save 16mm film. Beyond this, they speak about the techniques and her choices as a filmmaker and an artist.
Simon Schama interviews Tacita Dean in this lengthy article. Dean speaks about death in her art—that of her subjects such as Mario Merz and Merce Cunningham, but also of 16mm film. Schama not only discusses her techniques as a filmmaker and a storyteller, but also delves into Dean’s past, asking her about her family and her history as an artist.
This is a three-minute video of an interview with Tacita Dean after she created 2009’s “Tate Britain Christmas Tree,” which was inspired “by [Dean’s] experience of Christmas in Germany.” She speaks about the design of the tree, and Michael Marchant, who made the candles on the tree, also speaks.
Walsh, Claire. “Translating Apples: Tacita Dean Interviewed by Claire Walsh.” The Art Book, 15.1 (February 2008).
Claire Walsh interviews Tacita Dean about her film Michael Hamburger (2007). Dean discusses her methods and techniques in filming and sound, as well as what it was like to work with Hamburger before he passed away. She goes into her love for film and what it added to the piece, such as its brilliant colors.
Jeffrey Eugenides discusses Tacita Dean, her presence, and the reason for her nickname: “Formidable.” He then interviews Dean about her film The Green Ray: what a green ray is, the techniques and reasons behind The Green Ray, and the struggles trying to film an actual green ray. They go on to speak about some of the “strange coincidences” in the writing and production of her other films, such as Girl Stowaway and Middlesex. Tacita Dean reveals quite a few stories and speaks of her “uneconomical” filming.
Tacita Dean speaks to Jenny Turner about her then-current work, Disappearance at Sea, and the story of Donald Crowhurst. They discuss Dean’s style of work—her need to make multiple images rather than singular. She discusses her family background and the life as an artist, explaining the physical and mental exhaustion of her work, as well as her love for it.
FILM at Tate Modern, 2012, – Reviews
Francesco Casetti discusses Tacita Dean’s FILM, highlighting Dean’s techniques and broadening the scope to the meaning of the piece in relation to today’s digitalization. Casetti argues that Dean’s project to defend film remains limited to the realm of art particularly since cinema is being “relocated;” it has moved out of the theater into other spaces and smaller screens.
Caylin Smith speaks of Tacita Dean’s dedication to film, concentrating on two of her pieces in particular: FLOH and FILM. She discusses the different methods Dean uses to emphasize the importance of film, comparing Dean’s techniques with those of others, such as Ernst Van Alphen. Smith theorizes how exactly Dean manages to achieve what she does with her pieces through careful analysis.
This is a research project, the research question being as follows: “The aim of this project is two folded, firstly to develop a method to observe social practices within the context of the gallery informed by the field of multimodality and arts-research, and secondly to develop a theoretical framework as a variation on the Kineikonic Mode to analyze how meaning emerges when ‘documenting an encounter’ on the example of Tacita Dean’s FILM using digital moving image media.”
John Bailey discusses Dean’s methods, use of space, and love for film. Bailey, a cinematographer, discusses the importance of editors and stresses the need to have film and digital coexist, highlighting Dean’s part in the fight. Various photographs and You tube videos are provided.
A blogger posts about his or her experience watching a crew take down Tacita Dean’s FILM in Tate Modern. The blogger, known as “the magnificent something,” or “G,” discusses the importance of film from his or her perspective, explaining its necessity in today’s society through means of poetic examples.
Professor Rosalind Krauss’s audio lecture at Tate Modern on FILM, “in relation to (Tacita Dean’s) ongoing championing of medium specificity.” Also available as a Tate Modern podcast on iTunes.
White Hot Magazine reports on the exhibition of FILM in Turbine Hall. It depicts the experience of watching the film—the allure and mystery of it. It then brings in Tacita Dean’s point of view—that film is “time made manifest” and we must continue to keep it alive.
A blogger writes about Tacita Dean’s works, primarily FILM, in relation to remediation, which the blogger defines as “the refashioning of the language, the signs and signifiers, of one medium by another.”
Blogger “the magnificent something” or “G” reviews Tacita Dean’s FILM, praising it highly and highlighting Tacita Dean’s techniques and intents in the making of the piece. The blogger urges the reader to go see “Tacita Dean…singing the most beautiful and haunting gospel, giving [film] back the life it so fairly deserves.”
Jonathan Jones discusses Martin Scorsese’s Hugo (2011) and Tacita Dean’s FILM, comparing and contrasting the two and their relation to cinema history and celluloid film. Jones brings up the point that Dean’s love for cinema is dying, while Scorsese sees new exciting possibilities. Jones wraps up the article by siding more with Scorsese.
Douglas Brennan highlights Tacita Dean’s main passion: to keep celluloid film alive. Brennan covers the issue, and then ties it in to Dean’s project, FILM, and its purpose: a campaign to save film.
Sally O’Reilly writes about Tacita Dean’s work, namely her Turbine Hall project FILM. O’Reilly brings up multiple films by Dean and compares and contrasts them throughout this piece with multiple quotes from Dean herself.
Jonathan Jones argues that the “glitches” in Tacita Dean’s FILM are not only okay, but encouraged. In this piece in The Guardian, Jones explains that the breaking down of FILM is good because it signifies good art after bringing up other examples of glitches in artists’ pieces.
Ann Jones reviews FILM, covering everything from the use of space, the storyline, its purpose, and its overall effect. Jones also delves into the importance of film and Tacita Dean’s place in the issue.
Emily Eakin sheds light on Tacita Dean’s experience finding out that her main medium, film, is dying. Eakin further goes into Dean’s methods to make her cause known and her place as the main activist for film. The article explains her struggle as an artist to keep film alive.
Ryan Gilbey reflects on the texture of Tacita Dean’s Tate Modern installation, as well as the nostalgia it inspires and its firm roots in memory.
Charles Darwent muses over Tacita Dean’s choices with FILM, namely her use of space regarding the giant Turbine Hall. He then speaks of the things “wrong” with FILM, but how they add to the meaning of the piece and the overall effect.
Sarah Kent writes about Tacita Dean’s FILM, describing the piece in great detail. Kent goes into what materials were used to create FILM and the resulting effect. She further goes on to explain the meaning behind FILM and the issue of the dying medium of film.
Charlotte Higgins discusses Dean’s FILM and focuses on Tacita Dean’s love for film and fight to keep it alive while making sure it coexists with digital. It also reflects on her style and view of art.
David Hudson mentions that Tacita Dean’s art seems to have a theme of death: the death of her subjects and the death of her choice medium, film. He further goes on to explain the purpose of FILM: to keep film alive.
Alison Roberts describes Tacita Dean’s FILM, then reveals that Dean was not happy when interviewed—FILM was almost ruined right before its exhibition due to a mistake with the negative cutter; when Roberts spoke with Dean, the mistake had not yet been corrected and she had barely slept. Roberts discusses the irony of this happening as well as the purpose of FILM.
Art critic Adrian Searle, who is close to Tacita Dean, writes about Dean’s FILM and her struggles with the dying medium. Searle paints a picture for the reader, describing the set-up of the exhibit and the effect it has on the viewer.
Spielberg, Steven, Keanu Reeves, Dick Pope, Mitch Epstein, Jean-Luc Godard, Heather Stewart, and Martin Scorsese. “Steven Spielberg & Martin Scorsese: the joy of celluloid.” The Guardian. October 10, 2011.
Quotes directors, actors, cinematographers, and photographers, giving their opinion on the beauty and importance of celluloid film at around the same time as Tacita Dean’s FILM makes its debut.
Jackie Wullschlager comments on the beauty of Tacita Dean’s FILM in Turbine Hall, highlighting the vivid colors, the slow pace, the techniques, the editing, and the use of space. Wullschlager praises the exhibition and the work that Dean put into FILM.
Tacita Dean – The Artist
Thomas Michelli writes about Tacita Dean’s Five Americans in the New Museum, a film featuring elderly men. Thomas muses on the effect and purpose of this piece. He also discusses Dean’s Line of Fate and its lack of substance.
Phaidon covers Tacita Dean’s Five Americans, mentioning the use of great men as subjects and highlighting the film’s ability to resonate with the viewer. The article also points out that Dean was actively involved in every step of the process, maintaining close communication with the curators.
Lance Esplund reviews Tacita Dean’s Five Americans, pointing out its strong and weak pieces. Esplund claims that Craneway Event is the most “ambitious and compelling” section, while others are “mundane and mildly interesting.”
New Exhibitions Museum explains Tacita Dean’s Five Americans that was featured in the museum. The article praises Five Americans, calling the works “beautifully crafted portraits of each individual.” It concludes by giving a biography on her and her art career.
Emily Eakin points out that nothing much happens in Tacita Dean’s Five Americans, but that that’s not the point. The point is that after seeing past the “superficial tedium,” you can see the questions it arises, such as why make art?
Blake Gopnik discusses Tacita Dean’s Five Americans. After talking with Dean, he discusses national identity in her work; there was no intention of any sort of national identity, she claims, but Gopnik muses on this thought.
Jonathan Jones discusses the “English” quality of Tacita Dean. He highlights the difference between “British” and “English” and insists that Dean is English because her art is “quirky, personal, intense, and romantic.”
This feature on Tacita Dean delves into her art style and background, revealing the reasoning behind many of her art choices. She explains her view on film and the difference between film and digital, again highlighting the importance of keeping film alive.
Iversen, Margaret. “On Zoe Leonard and Tacita Dean.” Critical Inquiry, 38, Summer 2012. From U. Essex’s documents, available on Google.
This article focuses on Zoe Leonard and Tacita Dean, namely their use of analogue film as a medium. It focuses on analogue and digital films and these artists’ attempts to make the importance of analogue film clear to the public.
Helen Young Chang writes about Tacita Dean’s artistic process and style, her need for deadlines, and her struggles as an artist. She reflects on many of her mediums, but mostly her films, highlighting Five Americans in particular.
Jonathan Jones discusses Tacita Dean’s Edwin Parker, but namely, the subject: Cy Twombly. He muses on why Dean was attracted to the idea of using Twombly as a subject, suggesting that they are connected via pessimism, a fixation with time, and their art.
Clara Schulmann’s article is about Tacita Dean’s concentration on film and her techniques as a visual artist. She writes about the importance of film, brought up in many of Dean’s works, which are discussed at length throughout the article.
Ed Krčma muses on digital technology’s impact on drawing, mainly in relation to artists such as Tacita Dean and William Kentridge. The article analyzes in great length the effect of digital film verses analogue film on drawing, and vice versa.
Ryan, David. “Tacita Dean Craneway Event.” Art Monthly. October 1, 2010.
David Ryan’s article is a review on Tacita Dean’s Craneway Event, her film featuring the late Merce Cunningham. The review covers the basic plot of the film as well as its effects, praising the piece and Cunningham’s presence.
Westbrook Gallery discusses Tacita Dean’s Prisoner Pair: its appearance, story, and overall meaning. After analyzing the film, the writer comes to the conclusion that the film is about survival, and that the pears in the bottles symbolize trapped souls and resemble Tacita Dean’s elderly subjects.
Elisabeth Lebovici discusses the quote “Any work of art is the mirror of another” in relation to Tacita Dean. Lebovici analyzes Dean’s work, finding “reflections of another” in them throughout the piece.
Trodd, Tamara. “Lack of Fit: Tacita Dean, Modernism, and the Sculptural Film.” Art History. June 1, 2008.
Tamara Trodd discusses Disappearance at Sea, Tacita Dean’s breakthrough film. The article outlines the plot, then goes into the materials used. Trodd finds parallels between Dean’s and Sibyl Moholy-Nagy’s works, and suggests that perhaps Dean’s work is not so much obsolescent, but rather an anachronism.
Kristine Marx discusses Tacita Dean’s Kodak. The film is a melancholy story about film being made before the company goes out of business. Marx outlines the plot and then breaks down the film to show the “materiality and impermanence” of film.
Rodenbeck, Judith. “Tacita Dean.” Modern Painters. July – August 2007.
Judith Rodenbeck writes about Tacita Dean’s first solo exhibition in Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin. Rodenbeck reviews the different parts of the exhibition, praising her work and calling it “extraordinary.”
Mark Godfrey writes about Tacita Dean’s FLOH and its statement about photography today. The film, which is wordless, consists of multiple old photographs; Godfrey analyzes this and determines how Dean manages to convey “what photography was” as compared to what it is now.
Brian Dillon muses on Tacita Dean’s “poetic view of history” and time. He examines her use of abandoned buildings and “eccentric images of the future that have been abandoned, left to leach their enigmatic energies into the surrounding territory,” and their impact on the viewer.
“An Aside Selected by Tacita Dean.” Copyright of Modern Painters. May 1 2005.
An Aside, a show curated by Tacita Dean in the Camden Arts Centre, is briefly reviewed. The article questions her artistic decisions and the order of the show, criticizing some of her personal choices but also admitting its “extraordinary achievements.”
Hal Foster compares the works of Thomas Hirschborn, Sam Durant, and Tacita Dean, claiming that they point to an “archival impulse at work internationally in contemporary art.” Calling these people “archival artists,” Foster provides examples of their work and its cultural legacy.
Newman, Michael. “Medium and event in the work of Tacita Dean.” Tacita Dean: Recent Films and Other Works. Tate Britain, London, 2001.
Michael Newman discusses Tacita Dean’s work, specifically her confronting “the assimilation of mediums into digitalized media.” Newman compares Dean’s top figures—Donald Crowhurst, Bas Jan Ader, Robert Smithson, and J.G. Ballard—and connects various aspects of Dean’s work.
Dieter Schwartz analyzes Tacita Dean’s Teignmouth Electron, a film about the tale of Donald Crowhurst. Schwartz outlines the plot of the movie in great detail, comparing and contrasting it to Dean’s other works such as Magnetic, Disappearance at Sea, and Fernsehturm.