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Exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery Brings Together Tacita Dean's Three Most Recent Films

NEW YORK, NY.- Marian Goodman Gallery will present an exhibition of new work by Tacita Dean opening to the public on Thursday April 2 and on view through April 30th.

Well known for her compelling 16mm films, as well as her drawings, photographs and sound works, this exhibition brings together three of her most recent films, Michael Hamburger (2007), Darmstädter Werkblock (2007), and Prisoner Pair (2008), with a new gravure project, Fernweh (2009), a new series of large format painted photographs, and a smaller series, Painted Kotzsch Trees I-VI (2009). In this exhibition, Dean, who has been based in Berlin since 2000, shows works relating to the subject of Germany, incorporating subtle explorations of time and place, of memory and history, and of longing.

Shown in the North Gallery will be the three large scale overpainted photographs Urdolmen, Hünengrab (both 2008), and Riesenbett (2009). The photographs are of dolmen or ancient burial sites that can be found all over Northern Europe. Unlike the large photographs of ancient trees, which Dean has worked with before, the images of the stones are isolated by dark matte backgrounds making them otherworldly -- detached from and of history -- and imposing in their solemnity. Alongside these hang Painted Kotzsch Trees I-VI, a set of small, damaged albumen prints by the pioneering 19th-century German photographer, August Kotzsch. The backgrounds of the photographs have been painstakingly hand-painted in white gouache by Dean, isolating the delicate beauty and luminosity of these fragile images, while also treating the damage as equal part of the pictorial surface. Fernweh, 2009 is a new and ambitious gravure project with the Danish printmaker, Niels Borch Jensen. Using four found photographs as source material to create an improbable landscape, the work quotes Goethe’s Italian Journey. ‘Fernweh’ is an old fashioned German word for ‘a longing to travel.’

In the North Gallery Viewing Room will be the 16mm film Darmstädter Werkblock (2007) filmed in the seven rooms that make up Block Beuys, Joseph Beuys’s famous installation in Darmstadt’s Hessisches Landesmuseum, which he worked on from 1970 up to his death in 1986. In September 2007, the museum announced that they intended to renovate the rooms, and to remove the now famous brown jute wall coverings and gray carpet that have become such a feature of the installation. The decision caused much upset in Germany and beyond but has now been declared final. Unable to document the rooms for copyright reasons, Dean requested that instead she might document the walls and carpet and the details of the space that surround Beuys’s work without making any visual reference to the work itself. The resulting film concentrates on the patches and the stains and the labor of those who have been maintaining the space over the last four decades - the parallel entropy of the museum space with the aging of the Beuys’ work itself .

The South Gallery will showcase Michael Hamburger (2007) (16mm color anamorphic film, optical sound, 28 min), a film about the Berlin born British poet and translator Michael Hamburger, which evolved from a commission for an exhibition about the writer, W.G. Sebald. Dean chose to film Michael Hamburger, whom Sebald meets in a chapter of his book, The Rings of Saturn, and focuses on him exclusively in relation to the subject of apples -‘fruit to outlast our days’—which Hamburger cultivated in his Suffolk orchard.

“Though Hamburger is said to have despaired of reviews of his poetry which declared that he was ‘better known as a translator’, we might detect a similar deprecation of his self, by himself, in the film which shares his name. Unwilling, perhaps unable, to talk of his past and his migrations, most especially fleeing Nazism in 1933, he talks poignantly, instead, of his apple trees, of where they have come from, and of their careful cross breeding. Purity is dismissed, and one senses with an awkward pathos that the poet is translating himself.” -- Jeremy Millar in ‘Waterlog’, Castle Museum, Norwich.

Prisoner Pair (2008) (11 minutes, color, silent) is a close study of two bottles containing pear schnapps, where the pear grows inside the bottle. One bottle is from Alsace and the other is French, alluding to the contested area of Alsace-Lorraine. Back-projected on a small scale, the film refers to still life painting but also makes reference to the German Romantic painter, Caspar David Friedrich who is present in all the works in this exhibition.

Tacita Dean was born in Canterbury England in 1965 and lives in Berlin. She received the Kurt Schwitters Prize in 2009, and is the recipient of numerous other awards including the Hugo Boss Prize (2006). She will have solo exhibitions at the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan in May and at the Australian Center for Contemporary Art, Melbourne in June, Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montreal in October and the Sprengel Museum, Hannover in November. She will also premiere her new film Craneway Event, a second collaboration with Merce Cunningham, as part of Performa ’09 in November in New York.

Her most recent exhibitions include In My Manor, Villa Oppenheim Galerie für Gegenwartskunst, Berlin (2008); Amadeus at Galerie Marian Goodman, Paris (2008); Merce Cunningham performs STILLNESS (in three movements) to John Cage’s composition 4’33” with Trevor Carlson, New York City, 28 April 2007, a 6-film installation shown at Dia:Beacon, NY (2008); Tacita Dean, Hugo Boss Prize Exhibition, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2007); Tacita Dean: Filmed Works, Miami Art Central, Miami (2007); and the survey, Tacita Dean: Analogue: Films, Photographs, Drawings 1991-2006 at Schaulager, Munchenstein/ Basel, Switzerland (2006).

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