Crouching in her new Berlin studio during the pandemic, Tacita dean made two films, designed sets and ballet costumes, abandoned his initial plans for a museum commission (which Covid restrictions made infeasible) and instead made 130 photographs from his collection of postcards and, with the Help from a collaborator, created 100 largely handmade editions, each with 50 different objects, making a total of 5,000 articles, for a project titled Monet hates me. And the rest of us congratulated ourselves on cleaning out a closet or two.
But Dean, who came to the fore in the ’90s as a young British artist and rose to mainstream consciousness with his crusade to save film from digital erasure, welcomed the opportunity to work without an excuse. . For example, she intended to do Monet since 2015, when she was artist in residence at Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. “If I hadn’t had the time [of lockdown]”Dean said, comfortable in a poncho, his gray hair in a no-frills bun,” he could have weighed on me for the rest of my life. ”
She had upset the conventions of the Getty by abandoning a university project in favor of a “totally random exploration”. The first time she looked through the archives, she said, “I pointed at a box and they took it down. It was the key to Auguste Rodinthe workshop of. It started the whole trip.
Her interpretation of the key is now “the number one item” of boxed treasure, all inspired by the treasures she discovered at the Getty. Another example is Piet Mondrian’s business card, on which she crossed out her Paris address and wrote that of New York. “It’s very eccentric,” she said.
Equally original: All 50 items fit neatly in a box, although they are removed for viewing as part of a solo exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery in New York this month, with films and postcard photographs, the latter a shaped study in homage to the modernist sculptor Barbara hepworth. Also to see: pieces created in connection with The Dante project, the production of the Royal Ballet based on the Divine comedy premiered in London in October, featuring a 40-foot chalkboard drawing playing on the dichotomies of black and white, positive and negative.
Dean had moved to Los Angeles not only for the Getty residence, but also because she was alarmed that the celluloid film was going the way of the typewriter. “I really needed to take the argument to save the film in the heart of Hollywood,” she says, pointing out that she is not anti-digital (and even made one of the first digital works, in 1996) but thinks the film is irreplaceable. “It’s a lot of poetry. Every movie frame is different. It is rich in its potential for errors which can be beautiful. It is worth saving.
Acclaimed for her subtle and atmospheric films — David Hockney smoking cigarettes with passion, Merce Cunningham sitting as still as the composition of her partner John Cage 4’33 ” is silent – Dean recently pushed the boundaries of the medium with innovations such as hiding the camera opening door and reuse a film roll to capture multiple images in the same frame. Dean undertakes the old-fashioned editing herself, cutting by hand. “You have to keep watching your thing all the way to get to what you want to change,” she says. “This constant winding and unwinding is a process and a ritual.”
Luckily, she had shot the two new films in the series before leaving LA. (Brexit complicated her ability to stay while still retaining the right to live in Germany, her longtime home.) The first, Pan-Amicus, is a commission celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Getty Center. The second, One hundred and fifty years of painting, is more personal, documenting a dialogue between his friends Luchita Hurtado and Julie mehretu. “I figured out that Luchita was going to be 100 and Julie 50 on the same day, so I offered to have a conversation about painting, because they are two incredibly bright and beautiful women and painters,” says Dean, who l ‘led months before Hurtado died at the age of 99.
Dean says she had hoped the film was “back from the brink,” but sees the pandemic’s theater closures and streaming dominance as perhaps insurmountable threats. “People really need to go to the movies,” she says. “If we lose cinema, we will lose something profound. “