CORNWALL.- Falmouth Art Gallery
has acquired its first set of works by internationally acclaimed artist and Falmouth graduate Tacita Dean. The works are to go on public display for the first time in the UK next month.
Entitled A sequence of stones: Riesenbett II (floating), Groβsteingrab (floating) and Hünengrab II (floating), the set of mixed media works has been acquired with help from grants of £18,000 from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and £17,000 from the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for works of art. The total cost was £39,500.
Tacita Dean is one of the most important artists to have emerged from Falmouth School of Art, and still regularly returns to Cornwall from her home in Berlin. In books and interviews she stresses the importance of her time in Cornwall and the enormous influence it had on her future work.
A sequence of stones: Riesenbett II (floating), Groβsteingrab (floating) and Hünengrab II (floating) is composed of photographs depicting floating dolmens, or prehistoric stone formations thought to be tombs. The artist has painted the backgrounds of the photographs to establish a sense of timelessness and monumentality. Dean is influenced by the associations of ancient rock formations such as the rare and historic Cornish Quoits, for example the Trevethy Quoit and ancient granite stones that are prominent in the rugged Cornish landscape. The astonishing sense of light in these particular images is rooted to her time in Falmouth. Cornwalls distinctive light has influenced many great artists, including Turner.
Tacita Dean is specifically named as a priority in Falmouth Art Gallerys policy for works it would like to collect, and the late Director, Brian Stewart (1953-2010), felt her work to be of such importance that he worked tirelessly over a number of years to acquire a piece for the towns collection. He learned that he had achieved his goal two days before his sudden passing in December and had phoned the grant bodies from his hospital bed to express his delight. The importance of this acquisition was later underlined on 14 December whenTate and Unilever announced that Tacita Dean will undertake the twelfth commission in The Unilever Series for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. Her commission will be unveiled on 11 October 2011.
Tacita Dean wrote in an email to Falmouth Art Gallery: I only made three floating dolmen, of which these are the only small studies. I first encountered dolmens and standing stones in Cornwall. For me they are very associated to the pre-history of that landscape. I was reminded of them again looking at Caspar David Friedrichs paintings in the Getty and one Easter sought out the Island of Rugen where he painted. As I was making a show about the subject of Germany, I went and photographed various stones the following summer in the North West of Germany. Of course there are very many connective threads between the Cornish standing stones and those in Europe.
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: It is a fitting testimony to Brian Stewarts dedication and enthusiasm that this first set of works by Tacita Dean should be acquired successfully for Falmouth Art Gallery. Its wonderful that the gallery now permanently holds works by one of Falmouths most ingenious and creative graduates, and were sure that these beautiful, tranquil images will inspire visitors for years to come.
Although still relatively young, Tacita Dean is recognised as a major artist throughout the world. She has won numerous awards, among them the Hugo Boss Award (2006), New Contemporaries Award (1992), nominated for the Turner Prize (1998), received the Aachener Kunstpreis (2002), The Regione Piemonte Art Prize (2004) and the Sixth Benesse Prize, awarded on the occasion of the 2005 Venice Biennale. She has had a large number of major solo exhibitions in leading city art galleries internationally including: The Guggenheim Museum, New York; Schaulager, Basel; Tate Britain; Tate St Ives and the Musée dart Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Deans new work will be exhibited for the first time in Masters of Photography, 12 February to 2 April 2011. Within the show, these mixed media works address the shifting boundaries of photography and painting in contemporary art. The exhibition also includes work by Julia Margaret Cameron, Man Ray, Lee Miller, Eve Arnold, Jane Bown and Linda McCartney.
The only time the works have been shown in public was in the summer of 2009, in an exhibition entitled Tacita Dean at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne.