Tacita Dean


Tacita Dean (born Canterbury, UK, 1965) is best known for her exquisitely executed films of the last ten years. She often exploits the vicissitudes of the film medium itself to cultivate notions of ageing and the passage of time, a vocabulary of light and shade, as well as the seductive potential of obsolescence. The title of her recent large-scale survey exhibition held at Schaulager, Basel, was telling. Analogue: Films, Photographs, Drawings 1991–2006, demonstrated how a formal allegiance to the use of the apparatus of non-digital technology extends in Dean’s work into a consideration of the persistence of other fading phenomena: whether memories, superstitions, or particular architectural relics. This is no more apparent than in the ‘mechanical ballet’ of Kodak (2006). Set in a now-defunct Kodak factory, it laments one of the final production cycles of the very celluloid medium on which it is filmed. Dean participated in the 51st Venice Biennale with Palast (2004)—a projection high on a wall that interwove reflections in the windows of Berlin’s Palast der Republik, a building then condemned for demolition and now no longer existant. Her other contribution similarly showed another iconic structure that is no longer visible: the film Mario Merz (2002) depicts the Arte Povera master-artist quietly sitting in the shade of a tree.

Max Andrews



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