In an unprecedented collaboration, three major London galleries, the National Portrait Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, and National Gallery, will open three distinct exhibitions with the artist Tacita Dean it was announced today, Wednesday 13 September 2017.
The three exhibitions, Tacita Dean: LANDSCAPE, PORTRAIT, STILL LIFE, shaped by Dean’s response to the individual character of each institution, will explore genres traditionally associated with painting landscape at the Royal Academy of Arts, portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery and still life at the National Gallery seen through the contemporary prism of Dean’s wide-ranging artistic practice.
Tacita Dean: PORTRAIT (15 March – 28 May 2018) at the National Portrait Gallery will focus on portraiture primarily through the medium of 16mm film. This exhibition will be the first in the Gallery’s history to be devoted to the medium of film, and also reveals the artist’s own longstanding and personal interest in portraiture as a genre. Works on display will include Dean’s films of influential figures such as her major six-screen installation with Merce Cunningham in Merce Cunningham performs STILLNESSâ€¦ (2008) alongside her film of Claes Oldenburg in Manhattan Mouse Museum (2011) and her film diptych of Julie Mehretu GDGDA (2011), all previously unseen in the UK, as well as Mario Merz (2002), Michael Hamburger (2007), Cy Twombly in Edwin Parker (2011), and David Hockney in Portraits (2016). Also on show for the first time in the UK will be two photographic works: GAETA, fifty photographs, 2015 taken in the studio of Cy Twombly and The Line of Fate with Leo Steinberg. Dean is also making two new films, Providence, for the exhibition, and His Picture in Little, made specifically for presentation within the Gallery’s permanent collection.
Tacita Dean: LANDSCAPE at the Royal Academy of Arts (dates to be announced) will be the first exhibition to be held in the new Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries at the RA, following its transformative redevelopment. The exhibition will explore landscape in its broadest sense, from botany to cosmography, travel to weather. It was the likes of the Royal Academicians Constable, Gainsborough and Turner who championed the genre of landscape painting. With an eye on these traditions, particularly the picturesque and the sublime, Dean has created works for the RA’s new spaces, including a large-scale photogravure, Forty Days, a series of cloud chalk-spray drawings on slate and a monumental blackboard drawing, The Montafon Letter. These will be exhibited alongside pre-existing works such as Majesty (2006) and her clover collection (1973 onwards). The show will embrace all forms of â€˜scape’ from cloud to mountain to desert and works to demonstrate the persistent place of landscape in its widest description within her practice. The exhibition will culminate in an ambitious new 35mm Cinemascope film, Antigone, made with the same masking technique developed for her Turbine Hall project FILM (2011). In this experimental, quasi-narrative film, which features writer/poet Anne Carson and actor Stephen Dillane, Dean has gone so far as to combine multiple â€˜scapes’ and events within the single film frame therefore mixing different places, geologies and seasons into a single cinematographic image.
Tacita Dean: STILL LIFE (15 March – 28 May 2018) at the National Gallery will present an innovative exploration of the genre through Dean’s lens as one of its leading contemporary practitioners. Guided by her own understanding of still life and its influence on her practice, the artist will curate a diverse selection of works, ranging from 17th-century paintings to recently completed pieces in a variety of mediums, either by the artist herself or by her contemporaries. There will also be a new film diptych, Ideas for Sculpture in a Setting made by Dean especially for the National Gallery exhibition. By approaching the genre in this way, the exhibition will provide a forum for repositioning concepts of still life and examine its legacy within the history of art. In presenting historic paintings, such as Francisco de Zurbarán’s A Cup of Water and a Rose (about 1630) from the National Gallery collection alongside works made by her contemporaries including Thomas Demand, Roni Horn and Wolfgang Tillmans and her own film Prisoner Pair (2008, 16mm), the exhibition will demonstrate the continued importance of still life, as well as the National Gallery’s collection, as a source of inspiration in contemporary artistic practice.
Tacita Dean (b.1965) is a British European artist based in Berlin and Los Angeles who works with many mediums but primarily in film. Dean’s films, drawings and other works are extremely original. Previous exhibitions of her work include FILM: Unilever commission, The Line of fate and Print Projects.
Tacita Dean: LANDSCAPE, PORTRAIT, STILL LIFE is curated by Sarah Lea and Desiree De Chair at the Royal Academy of Arts; Sarah Howgate, Senior Curator, Contemporary Collections at the National Portrait Gallery, and Bart Cornelis, Curator of Dutch and Flemish Paintings at the National Gallery