Art | February 18, 2024 |

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Image courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Tacita Dean
MCA – Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
December 08, 2023 – March 03, 2024

The 2023-24 Sydney International Art Series, featuring the works of three internationally renowned artists, will be coming exclusively to Sydney this summer. The program includes a major exhibition by acclaimed artist Tacita Dean at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, which will premiere works never seen in the Southern Hemisphere; while at the Art Gallery of New South Wales the largest survey of artist Louise Bourgeois ever displayed in Australia and an exhibition comprehensively spanning the oeuvre of Wassily Kandinsky will be on display.

Tacita Dean’s solo exhibition at the MCA Australia opens on 8 December. It will be the largest presentation of the artist’s work in the Southern Hemisphere and is curated by Suzanne Cotter, Director and Jane Devery, Senior Curator of exhibitions, with assistance from Megan Robson, Curator.

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Image courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

The exhibition highlights the creative power of one of today’s most admired artists with the presentation of major works by Tacita Dean created over the past five years. It will include new and recent film works, monumental chalkboard drawings sensuous photographic and print series, and immersive film installations. Among the highlights of the exhibition will be drawings, prints and a new film work based on the artist’s designs for the ballet The Dante Project (2021), a collaboration with choreographer Wayne McGregor and composer Thomas Ades for The Royal Ballet and Geography Biography (2023), a monumental film installation commissioned by the Pinault Collection for the Bourse de Commerce, Paris.

One of the most important living artists of our times, Tacita Dean (b. 1965, United Kingdom) is renowned for her singular poetic vision and distinctive body of works encompassing film, photography and drawing which she brings together as compelling and multi-sensorial installations.

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Image courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Based in Berlin and Los Angeles, Dean is best known for her works made with analogue films that draw connections between the past and the present and reflect the materiality and history of filmmaking. The artist’s use of the analogue medium in the digital age speaks to the precarious conditions of the contemporary era. At a time of constant change, her works are distinguished by meticulous attention to detail that encourages slow and careful observation of the surrounding world.

The artist notes: ‘My relationship to film begins at that moment of shooting and ends in the moment of projection. Along the way, there are several stages of magical transformation that imbue the work with varying layers of intensity. This is why the film image is different from the digital image: it is not only emulsion versus pixels or light versus electronics, but something deeper – something to do with poetry.’

Director of the MCA Australia, Suzanne Cotter said, ‘Tacita Dean is undoubtedly one of our greatest living artists and truly an artist that speaks to our contemporary moment. Aesthetically seductive and scintillating in its intelligence, her work is a profound and poetic response to the world as visual sensation and as a metaphor for time and the interconnectedness of people, places and things. We are excited and honoured to be presenting this exhibition to a broad public in Australia.’

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Image courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

NSW Minister for Arts and Minister for Jobs and Tourism, John Graham said, ‘Tacita Dean, Louise Bourgeois and Wassily Kandinsky are three highly influential international artists. It will be an exciting opportunity for local and visiting audiences to engage with the work of these trailblazing figures in Sydney this summer. Sydney International Arts Series is part of why NSW can boast being home to Australia’s creative capital and increasingly, a global hub for cultural experiences.’

Direct from its presentation at the Pinault Collection at the Bourse de Commerce, Paris, the MCA will premiere in Australia a major new work, Geography Biography (2023). A monumental film diptych and Dean’s most biographical work to date, it reflects the artist’s relationship to the world through her ‘cutting room floor’, incorporating outtakes from her 16 mm films and her early super and standard 8 mm films, to form what she calls an ‘accidental self-portrait‘.

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Image courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Alongside this ambitious new film work, the artist has created a large-scale chalk on blackboard drawing, The Wreck of Hope (2022), depicting a melting ice-cap disappearing into the darkness of an abyss. In this monumental work, which takes its title from a work by the German Romantic landscape painter Caspar David Friederich (1774 –1840), Dean presents a landscape under threat due to climate change, exploiting the inherent fragility of the medium of chalk and its association with acts of erasure to capture a sense of collapse.

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Image courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Dean was commissioned to create the set design and costumes for The Dante Project, a new ballet inspired by Dante Alighieri’s narrative poem The Divine Comedy, which premiered at the Royal Opera House, London in October 2021. The exhibition at the MCA will include a range of works created by Dean for the ballet, including the film shown as part of the final act, Paradise (2021). Presented in an architecturally designed pavilion, Paradise is a 35mm CinemaScope film that uses the circular planetary motifs that feature throughout Dante’s poem, and a vibrant colour palette is inspired by the work of artist William Blake (1757–1827). The film’s soundtrack is a MIDI digital simulation of Thomas Adès’s composition Paradiso.

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Image courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Another recent work from Dean’s ongoing acclaimed series of film portraits, One Hundred and Fifty Years of Painting (2021) is a filmed conversation between the painters Luchita Hurtado and Julie Mehretu. Realising that the two artists, who share a birthday 50 years apart, would collectively turn one hundred and fifty years old in 2020, Dean filmed them in conversation in Hurtado’s apartment in Santa Monica in the first days of 2020. In this intimate and illuminating film, the two women discuss their respective artistic practices and the medium of painting, as well as their lives and personal trajectories.

more. www.mca.com.au

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Image courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

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