The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Internationally acclaimed artist Tacita Dean is presenting a new film specifically commissioned for the Arcadia University Art Gallery and made possible by funding from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. The film, entitled “JG” will be on display at Arcadia University starting on February 7 through April 21.
British-born and Berlin-based artist Tacita Dean originally emerged as part of the Young British Artists during the early 1990s, despite having little in common with their work. Her work has variously consisted of drawings, prints and sound works, although she diverged from the sentiments of the time to focus on film, which is perhaps what she is best known for.
In 2011, Dean exhibited an 11-minute 35 mm film at the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall entitled “FILM,” which was inspired by correspondence with author J.G. Ballard concerning his own writing’s similarities with Robert Smithson’s iconic “Spiral Jetty.” Dean’s most recent film “JG” acts a sequel in technique to the Tate film, composed of a 26-minute 35 mm loop consisting of shots from the saline environments of Utah and Southern California – a direct nod to the location of Robert Smithson’s groundbreaking work in Rozel Point, Great Salt Lake, Utah.
The new film utilizes a form of aperture gate masking device that Dean developed for use in “FILM.” Essentially, the technique allows the artist to expose multiple shapes within a single frame, crossing time and location by loading and exposing the film through the camera multiple times. These processes ultimately reintroduce the spontaneity of filmmaking which was mostly destroyed with the introduction and proliferation of digital media.
One of the masks seemingly includes sprocket holes from a strip of film, a reference to Ballard’s own camera which was used in the shoot, given to Dean by Claire Walsh, the author’s longtime partner. The artist is also mindful of Smithson’s own film of “Spiral Jetty,” says gallery director Richard Torchia, and the final result culminates as a cross-discipline, cross-generational conversation among Dean, Ballard and Smithson.
On Thursday, February 7th, the film will commence with a lecture by Dean in the Great Hall of the University Commons at Arcadia University at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free, but reservations are required and can be made here.
Arcadia University Art Gallery is located at 450 S. Easton Rd., Glenside; firstname.lastname@example.org; gallery.arcadia.edu.