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 first came to prominence in the 1990s and is now considered to be one of the most influential artists working today.
Dean’s films, drawings and other works are extremely original. Her films express something that neither painting nor photography can capture. They are purely film. And while Dean can appreciate the past, her art avoids any kind of academic approach. Her art is carried by a sense of history, time and place, light quality and the essence of the film itself. The focus of her subtle but ambitious work is the truth of the moment, the film as a medium and the sensibilities of the individual.
Dean has also celebrated what is normally considered waste in filmmaking, such as the picture fading at the tail end of a roll, flash frames of over-exposure as the camera stops and starts, and the shimmering metamorphosis of a colour filter change. Tacita Dean has worked with film throughout her career and in recent months she has voiced her concern about the declining availability and access to film as digital technologies become the norm and photochemical labs close down.
Tacita Dean is first and foremost associated with her extensive production of 16mm films but concurrently with her film work she has worked with a wide range of media, and in photogravure she found the potential for creating the same sense of depth that infuses the images of film.