The twelfth commission in The Unilever Series at Tate Modern in London has been realized by the Berlin-based artist Tacita Dean. Tacita Dean conceived a piece that consists of an eleven-minute silent 35mm film projected onto a monolithic wall erected at the end of a darkened Turbine Hall. The work is entitled Film and deals with the typical nature of the analogue film in contrast to the digital image. Tacita Dean’s film is the first work in The Unilever Series that is devoted to the moving image.
The Unilever Series: Tacita Dean, Tate Modern
11 October 2011 - 11 March 2012
Tacita Dean is a British artist now based in Berlin, best known for her use of film. Dean’s films act as portraits or depictions rather than conventional cinematic storytelling, capturing fleeting natural light or subtle shifts in movement. Her static camera positions and long takes allow events to unfold unhurriedly. Other works have attempted to reconstruct events from memory, such as an infamous thwarted attempt to circumnavigate the world.
Dean’s interest in the cinematic also extends to her work in other media. The Russian Ending 2001 borrows its title from the early Danish cinema tradition of making two alternate endings for a film: one happy for the American market and one tragic for the Russian market. In this work, Dean annotated postcards of catastrophes with director’s notes.
Many of Dean’s works show the ways in which architecture can be transformed by the camera’s lens. Craneway Event 2009 follows the choreographer Merce Cunningham (1919–2009) and his dance company rehearsing in a former Ford assembly plant, built of glass and steel and overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Dean’s film allows the ever-changing light of this environment to fall in rhythm with the dancers’ movements.
Dean’s comission is especially designed to respond to the architecture of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. The Unilever Series has become renowned as one of the most exciting and impressive contemporary art exhibitions in London each year and it’s free to view.