Apart from the basic facts of time and place, Tacita Dean (b. 1965) actually has very little in common with the generation of Young British Artists with which she is often associated. Whereas artists such as Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst took the international art scene and media by storm in the 1990s, evincing no small flair for the sensational, Tacita Dean has quietly worked to the beat of her own drum, evincing a very different and far more subtle approach to art. And even though she has continuously explored new territories in her art, her works are always characterised by a strong sense of cohesion; a testament to an artist who found, right from the outset and with no hesitation, a mode of expression and subject matter that continues to engage and challenge.
Tacita Dean is first and foremost associated with her extensive production of 16mm films. 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. She realised and developed this potential in co-operation with the Danish specialist printer Niels Borch Jensen, who has handled her print work ever since they created her very first prints together. The exhibition in the Royal Collection of Graphic Art
is the first ever to focus exclusively on Tacita Deans graphic art. Featuring more than 90 works, it shows the majority of her entire graphic oeuvre from 2001 to the present day.
The tactile, veiled qualities of photogravure are a particular favourite of Tacita Deans as she explores a recurring motif in her art: the relationship between memory and time, fiction and reality, unfolding her theme in a serial manner in storyboards that are almost filmic. Some of the motifs featured in the photogravures are still images from her films, while others come from old postcards, advertisements, and amateur photographs found in flea markets. Tacita Dean uses these images to construct narratives about major and minor historical or present-day events and actions. All of these more or less concrete stories are carried by the same ceaseless fascination with things that have disappeared or are about to disappear. In terms of narrative technique Tacita Dean takes an oblique approach. The narrative is almost never allowed to form a coherent story in the classical sense. The images are torn out of the grasp of narrative, transforming the absence of content into a strong visual presence.
Tacita Dean has lived and worked in Berlin since 2000. She has studied art at e.g. Slade School of Fine Art in London and exhibited her work at numerous museums, including Tate Britain, London (2001), ARC Musée dArt Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris (2003), Schaulager, Basel (2006), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2007), mumok: Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Wien (2011), Tate Modern, London (2011), New Museum, New York (2012), and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2013). She has also taken part in the Venice Biennial (2003 and 2005) and Documenta 13 (2012). She has received numerous awards, e.g. the Hugo Boss Award, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2006), and the Kurt Schwitters Award (2009). Throughout her career she has written about her art.