Tacita Dean (photo: Frith Street Gallery)
Dean has worked in a variety of media – drawing, sound, found objects, photographs - but is, perhaps, best known for her 16mm films – Laura Cumming, reviewing Dean’s recent Craneway Event (a film of Merce Cunningham rehearsing his dancers in a disused Ford assembly plant in San Francisco) called her the great poet of art film.
Brian Dillon, writing in Tate Etc identifies Dean’s characteristic attraction to objects that speak of a future that never came: Such structures seem to bypass the present, setting up instead a strange relay between past and future, between utopia and nostalgia.
Dean’s poetic meditations include: Fernsehturm, the revolving restaurant at the top of Berlin’s television tower; Sound Mirrors: the spooky 1930s pre-radar, concrete listening devices in Kent; Bubble House, the abandoned futuristic house in the Cayman Islands - discovered by Dean when researching material for another work, Teignmouth Electron, the bizarre story of Donald Crowhurst, the hopelessly ill-prepared lone yachtsman who entered the 1969 round-the-world race, faked his logbooks and disappeared.
Tacita Dean: (top) still from Bubble House, 1999 (16mm colour film, 7 mins.); (bottom) still from Sound Mirrors, 1999 (16mm black and white film, 7 mins.)
Dean’s films are typically slow, and elegiac, the static camera’s gaze lingering on her subjects; it will be interesting to see what she does in the vast space of the Turbine Hall.
Tacita Dean is represented by Frith Street Gallery
Cumming, Laura (2001) "It's All Done with Sound Mirrors", The Observer, 4th March
Dean. Tacita (2005) Berlin Works, London: Tate St Ives
Dean, Tacita (1999) Teignmouth Electron, London: Book Works
Dean, Tacita and Millar, Jeremy (2005) Place, London: Thames & Hudson
Dillon, Brian (2005) "The History of Future Technology", Tate Etc, Issue 5, Autumn
Searle, Adrian (2001) "Age and Beauty", The Guardian, 20th February