Tacita Dean

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Born November 12, 1965(1965-11-12)
Canterbury, England, United Kingdom
Lives in Berlin, Germany
Web Wikipedia
Collections Tate 32, FM Winterthur 15, Reina Sofia 14, MoMA 9, Serralves 5, British Council 4, Pompidou 3, SFMOMA 3, Guggenheim 2, Macba 2, Artic 1, Hirshhorn 1, Walker 1, Dallas MA 1, NGA Ottawa 1, Beyeler 1

Tacita Charlotte Dean (1965, Canterbury, England) is an English visual artist who works primarily in film. She studied at the Falmouth School of Art (1985-88), Supreme School of Fine Art in Athens, Greece (1989-90), and the Slade School of Fine Art in London, England (1990-92). Dean was a nominee for the Turner Prize in 1998 and was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 2008. She lives in Berlin.


Since the early 1990s, Dean's body of work has navigated the forgotten corners of history and experience through a range of films, photographs, drawings, and installations. Ztráta (1991–2002), one of Dean's earliest films, explored the terms presence, absence, and loss (“ztráta” in Czech) in a classroom in post-communist Prague. Her film The Story of Beard (1992) narrated the tale of a shop owner who amassed a collection of beards. In A Bag of Air (1995), the camera captures the shrinking shadow of a hot air balloon as it ascends away from the ground, and then cuts to images of Dean trying to capture air in a plastic bag. Soon after, Dean devised several works surrounding the adventures and demise of seafarer Donald Crowhurst in Disappearance at Sea (1996), Disappearance at Sea II (1997), and Teignmouth Electron (2000). In 1997 she created a sound recording of her unsuccessful journey in search of Robert Smithson's iconic earthwork in Trying to Find the Spiral Jetty.

In 1997 Dean moved to London. That same year she began to exhibit splices of magnetic tape cut the length required to document the duration of the sound indicated, such as a raven's cry. She also extended her interest to drawings of the sea in the series Roaring Forties: Seven Boards in Seven Days (1997), Sea Drawing Inventories (1998), and Chère petite soeur (2002). Her films of this period touched upon such subjects as healing in Gellért (1998), failed projects yielding surprising results in Sound Mirrors (1999), and the effects of an eclipse on a pastoral landscape in Banewl (1999). Dean again focused on surprising solar effects in Totality (2000), The Green Ray (2001), and Diamond Ring (2002). Floh (2001) comprises found photographs from flea markets.

Soon after the artist's move to Berlin in 2000, she responded to the city's layered history with films and related photogravures in Fernsehturm (2001) and Palast (2004-05). In 2002, Dean paid homage to precedents of experimental art in two very different films: Section Cinema (Homage to Marcel Broodthaers) (2002) and Mario Merz (2002). The film triptych Boots (2003) follows a mysterious character, blind in one eye and wearing an orthopedic boot, who speaks in French, English, and German as he laboriously traipses through the Casa de Serralves in Porto. Dean chronicles the memories and divergent attitudes of her two uncles as they discuss the family business in The Uncles (2004). She exhibited vintage opera and theater programs found in flea markets in Die Regimentstochter (2005). In Kodak and Noir et Blanc (both 2006), Dean reflected on changes in the filmic medium from celluloid film to digital alternatives. In Darmstädter Werkblock (2007), Dean filmed the galleries containing Joseph Beuys's installation in Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, while the controversial renovation of the space was underway. Dean explored the subject of writer W.G. Sebald in her film Michael Hamburger (2007). Dean recorded dancer Merce Cunningham performing his iconic choreography in Merce Cunningham performs STILLNESS (in three movements) to John Cage's composition 4'33” with Trevor Carlson, New York City, 28 April 2007 (2008). (Source)


Film, video[edit]

  • The Story of Beard, 1992, 16 mm, color, optical sound, 8 min.
  • The Martyrdom of St Agatha (in several parts), 1994, 16 mm, color, optical sound, 14 min.
  • Girl Stowaway, 1994, 16 mm, color and black and white, optical sound, 8 min.
  • How to Put a Boat in a Bottle, 1995, video, 18 min.
  • A Bag of Air, 1995, 16 mm, black and white, optical sound, 3 min. Tate.
  • Disappearance at Sea, 1996, 16 mm anamorphic film, color, optical sound, 14 min. Tate.
  • Delft Hydraulics, 1996, 16 mm, black and white, optical sound, 3 min.
  • Foley Artist, 1996, video, monitor, colour and sound (stereo), audio, 8 channels, mono, Sondor playback machine and light box. Sound installation. Tate.
  • Disappearance at Sea II, 1997, 16 mm anamorphic film, color, optical sound, 4 min. Artic.
  • The Structure of Ice, 1997, 16 mm, color, optical sound, 3 min.
  • Gellért, 1998, 16 mm, color, optical sound, 6 min.
  • Bubble House, 1999, 16 mm, color, 7 min. Serralves.
  • Sound Mirrors, 1999, 16 mm, black and white with optical sound, 7 min.
  • From Columbus, Ohio, to the Partially Buried Woodshed, 1999, super-8mm (transferred to video), color, 7 min.
  • Banewl, 1999, 16 mm, color, anamorphic film, 63 min. MoMA.
  • Teignmouth Electron, 2000, 16 mm, color, 7 min. Macba.
  • Totality, 2000, 16 mm, color, anamorphic film, 11 min. MoMA.
  • Jukebox 1, 2000, 1 console; 3 CD changing mechanisms, 192 CDs, 4 speakers.
  • Jukebox 2, 2001, 1 console; 3 CD changing mechanisms, 192 CDs, 4 speakers.
  • Fernsehturm, 2001, 16mm color anamorphic, optical sound, 44 min. Tate. Hirshhorn. NGA Ottawa.
  • The Green Ray, 2001, 16mm color, 2 min. MoMA. MoMA.
  • Baobab, 2002, 16mm black and white film, optical sound, 10 min.
  • Ztrata, 1991/2002, 16mm black and white film (transferred from Standard 8), 3 min 30 sec.
  • Diamond Ring, 2002, 16mm color film, silent, 6 min (cycle of 12 films, each 27 sec). MoMA.
  • Section Cinema (Homage to Marcel Broodthaers), 2002, 16mm color film, optical sound, 13 min. Macba.
  • Mario Merz, 2002, 16mm color film, optical sound, 8 min 30 sec.
  • Boots, 2003, three 16mm color anamorphic films (English version; French version; German version), optical sound, 20 min (each). Serralves.
  • Pie, 2003, 16mm color film, optical sound, 7 min.
  • Palast, 2004, film, sound, 10 min 30 sec. Tate. Berlinische.
  • The Uncles, 2004, 16mm film, 77 min.
  • Presentation Sisters, 2005, 16mm, sound, 60 min.
  • Kodak, 2006, 16 mm color and black and white film, 44 min. Tate. Guggenheim. Pompidou.
  • Noir et Blanc, 2006, 16mm black and white film, 4 min, 30 sec.
  • Human Treasure, 2006.
  • Michael Hamburger, 2007, 16mm color anamorphic film, 28 min. Tate. Dallas MA
  • Darmstädter Werkblock, 2007, 16mm color films with optical sound, 18 min.
  • Amadeus, 2008, 16mm color anamorphic film, silent, 50 min.
  • Merce Cunningham performs STILLNESS (in three movements) to John Cage's composition 4'33" with Trevor Carlson, New York City, 28 April 2007, six 16mm color films with optical sound, 2008. Guggenheim. Walker.
  • Prisoner Pair, 16mm color film, 11 min, 2008.
  • Still Life, 2009, 16mm black and white film, silent, 5 min 30 sec.
  • Day for Night, 2009, 16mm color film, silent, 10 min. SFMOMA.
  • Craneway Event, 2009, 16mm color anamorphic film, optical sound, 108 min. Reina Sofia. Serralves.
  • The Friar’s Doodle, 2010, 16mm color film, silent, 13 min.
  • Edwin Parker, 2011, 16mm color film, optical sound, 29 min.
  • Gdgda, 2011, two 16 mm color films, silent, 4 and 3 min.
  • Manhattan Mouse Museum, 2011, 16mm color film, optical sound, 16 min.
  • FILM, 2011, 35mm film, black and white and color, 10 min 42 sec. Tate.
  • JG, 2012, 5mm anamorphic film, 26 min, looped.
  • Event for a Stage, 2015, 16mm color film, optical sound, 50 min.


Trying to Find the Spiral Jetty, 1998, cassette tape. MoMA. British Council.


(in English unless noted otherwise)

  • Disappearance at Sea, Limoges: Adélie, and Bourges: École National Supérieure d’Arts de Bourges, 1999. Artist's book.
  • Missing Narratives, Rotterdam: Witte de With, 1997. Artist's book.
  • Teignmouth Electron, London: Book Works, and Greenwich: National Maritime Museum, 1999; 2nd ed., 2009. Artist's book.
  • response in "Artist Questionnaire: 21 Responses", October 100: "Obsolescence", Spring 2002, p 26.
  • with Martyn Ridgewell, FLOH, Göttingen: Steidl, 2001, 176 pp. Artist's book. Exh. held at Frith Street Gallery, 2-29 Mar 2001. [1]
  • 12.10.02–21.12.02, Düsseldorf: Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Göttingen: Steidl, 2002. Artist's book.
  • "W. G. Sebald", October 106, Fall 2003, pp 122-136. This text developed out of an essay written as part of the publication Seven Books to accompany Dean's exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2003.
  • The Green Ray, Cologne: Walther König, 2004, 152 pp. Text by Tacita Dean. [2]
  • Die Regimentstochter, Göttingen: Steidl, 2005. Artist's book.
  • An Aside. Selected by Tacita Dean, London: Hayward Gallery, 2005, 79 pp. Published on the occasion of a national touring exhibition organised by the Hayward Gallery in collaboration with Camden Arts Centre, London, for Arts Council England. Artists in the exhibition: Eileen Agar, Lothar Baumgarten, Joseph Beuys, Walther Brüx, Peter Fischli, David Weiss, Rodney Graham, Raymond Hains, Roni Horn, Sharon Lockhart, Marisa Merz, Paul Nash, Gerhard Richter, Yvan Salomone, Thomas Scheibitz, Thomas Schütte, Kurt Schwitters. Text primarily written by Tacita Dean with an essay by Roger Malbert. Exh. held at Camden Arts Centre, 18 Feb-1 May 2005. Review: Lackey (Papers of Surrealism).
  • Darmstädter Werkblock, Göttingen: Steidl, 2008, 80 pp. Artist's book. Prior to a controversial gallery renovation, Tacita Dean documents the brown and beige jute walls, carpeted floor and other decor of the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, which houses the famous seven-room installation Block Beuys, 1970-86 by Joseph Beuys. Opponents of the renovation cite the importance of entropy in Beuys' work. [3] [4]
  • c/o Jolyon, Cologne: Walther König, 2012, 104 pp. A book of 100 original prewar postcards from Kassel, Germany, over which the artist painted contemporary views of the same sites in gouache. [5]
  • Clover Book, México: Jardín Botánico Culiacán/Colección Isabel y Agustín Coppel (CIAC), 2013. Artist's book.
  • with Will Self, JG, a film project by Tacita Dean, including Key Stroke, Glenside: Arcadia University Art Gallery, 2013. Artist's book.
  • Selected Writing and Complete Works & Filmography, London: National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery, and Royal Academy of Arts, 2018, 304 & 288 pp. Published to coincide with Dean’s solo shows at the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts. [6]


  • Tacita Dean: Mučeništvo sv. Agate in druge zgodbe / The Martyrdom of St. Agatha and Other Stories, Ljubljana: Galerija Škuc, and Maribor: Media Nox, 1994. Text by Adela Železnik. Exh. held at Galerija Škuc, Ljubljana, 23 Aug-6 Sep 1994; Galerija Media Nox, Maribor, 10-24 Sep 1994. (Slovenian)
  • Tacita Dean, Bourges: École Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Bourges, 1995, [20] pp. Exh. title La Box held at Hôtel Lallemant, Bourges, 10-22 Oct 1995. (English)/(French)
  • Tacita Dean, Philadelphia: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1998, 48 pp. Essays by Patrick T. Murphy, Sean Rainbird, Jeremy Millar. Exh. held at ICA Philadelphia, 13 Nov 1998-3 Jan 1999; Madison Art Center, Madison, WI, 7 Mar-23 May 1999.
  • Tacita Dean: Selected Works 1994-2000 / ausgewählte Werke 1994-2000, Basel: Museum für Gegenwartskunst, 2000, 87 pp. (English)/(German)
  • Tacita Dean, ed. Mela Dávila, Barcelona: Museu d'Art Contemporani, and Barcelona: Actar, 2001, 122 pp. Exh. held 26 Jan-25 Mar 2001. (Spanish)
    • Tacita Dean, Barcelona: Museu d'Art Contemporani, and Barcelona: Actar, 2001, 122 pp. (English)
  • Directions: Tacita Dean, Washington DC: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 2001, [5] pp. Exh. held 26 Jul-23 Oct 2001.
  • Tacita Dean: Recent Films and Other Works, London: Tate, 2001, 80 pp. An introduction to the artist and her work by Clarrie Wallis and Sean Rainbird is followed by eight responses to the themes of the artist's work by writers from diverse backgrounds (Sean Rainbird, Michael Newman, J.G. Ballard, Germaine Greer, Susan Stewart, Friedrich Meschede, Peter Nichols, Simon Crowhurst). Also contains a biography, exhibition history, filmography and bibliography. (English)
  • Tacita Dean: The Green Ray and Other Suns, Porto: Museu Serralves, 2001, [8] pp. Exh. held 30 Nov 2001-Mar 2002.
  • Tacita Dean: Seven Books, 7 vols., Paris: Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris, and Göttingen: Steidl, 2003. Texts by Tacita Dean, Laurence Bossé, Julia Garimorth, Rita Kersting, a.o. Exh. held 7 May-22 Jun 2003. [7] (English),(French),(German)
  • Tacita Dean, ed. Emanuela De Cecco, Milan: postmedia books, 2004, 110 pp. Incl. a selection of texts by Dean, and conversation with Dean by Roland Groenenboom. Excerpt. [8] (Italian)/(English)
  • Tacita Dean: Berlin Works, St. Ives: Tate, 2005, 48 pp. With audio CD. Exh. held at Tate, St. Ives, 8 Oct 2005-15 Jan 2006.
  • Tacita Dean. Analogue: Drawings 1991-2006, eds. Theodora Vischer and Isabel Friedli, Basel: Schaulager, and Göttingen: Steidl, 2006, 152 pp. Exh. held 13 May-24 Sep 2006.
    • Tacita Dean: Analogue: Zeichnungen 1991-2006, Basel: Schaulager, 2006, 151 pp. (German)
  • Tacita Dean, ed. Marianne Yvennes, Oslo: Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, 2006, 79 pp. Exh. held 11 Mar-14 May 2006. (Norwegian)/(English)
  • Tacita Dean: Film Works, ed. Rina Carvajal, Milan: Charta, and Miami: Miami Art Central, 2007, 112 pp. Texts by Tacita Dean, Briony Fer, Rina Carvajal. Exh. held at Miami Art Central, 20 Jan-15 Apr 2007.
  • Tacita Dean. The Friar's Doodle, ed. Lynne Cooke, Madrid: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2010, 70 pp. Exh. held at Santo Domingo de Silos Abbey, Burgos, 23 Mar-27 Jun 2010. [9]
    • Tacita Dean. El garabato del fraile, Madrid: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2010, 70 pp. Essay by Elisabeth Lebovici. (Spanish)
  • Tacita Dean: Film, ed. Nicholas Cullinan, London: Tate Publishing, 2011, 143 pp. Includes contributions by over sixty artists, directors, cinematographers, photographers and other professionals on analogue media. The work Film was created for the Tate Modern’s Unilever commission in the Turbine hall. Exh. held at Tate Modern, London, 11 Oct 2011-11 Mar 2012; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 10 Oct-24 Nov 2013. [10]
  • Tacita Dean: Seven Books Grey, 7 vols., ed. mumok, Vienna: mumok, and Göttingen: Steidl, 2011, 452 pp. Texts by Peter Bürger, Douglas Crimp, Achim Hochdörfer, Christa-Maria Lerm-Hayes, Wolfram Pichler, and Marina Warner. Exh. titled Line of Fate held at mumok, Vienna, 4 Mar-29 May 2011. [11] [12]
  • Tacita Dean: Five Americans, eds. Massimiliano Gioni and Margot Norton, New York: New Museum, 2012, 71 pp. Exh. held 6 May-1 Jul 2012. [13]
  • Tacita Dean: a medida das coisas / The Measure of Things, ed. Rina Carvajal, São Paulo: Instituto Moreira Salles, 2013, 119 pp. Exh. held 2 Oct 2013-26 Jan 2014. (Brazilian Portuguese)/(English)
  • Tacita Dean: Print Projects, ed. Sven Bjerkhof, Copenhagen: Statens Museum for Kunst, 2014, 48 pp. Exh. held 17 Jan-18 May 2014. (Danish)/(English)
  • Tacita Dean: Fatigues, ed. Suzanne Swarts, Wassenaar: Museum Voorlinden, 2015, 63 pp. Text by Barbara Bos and Jorien de Vries. (Dutch)
  • Giorgio Morandi e Tacita Dean: semplice come tutta la mia vita, Milan: Skira, 2017, 93 pp. Exh. held at Palazzo Te, Mantua, Italy, 11 Mar-4 Jun 2017. (Italian)
  • more