Tacita Dean — JG
Past: January 15 → March 1, 2014Tacita Dean, JG — Galerie Marian Goodman Tacita Dean voue un amour particulier à la pellicule qu’elle soit en format 8, 16 ou encore 35 mm, au point de lui rendre hommage à... Critique
JG, a 35 mm color and black and white anamorphic film with optical sound of 26 ½ minutes, is screened in a continuous loop in the basement of the gallery. On the ground floor is exhibited a body of works relating to salt lakes landscapes: a group of 14 photographs from the film, salinated objects from the Great Salt Lake (Utah, United States) and Quatemary, a large scale etching in eight parts depicting an imaginary and enigmatic landscape.
Inspired by her correspondence with J.G. Ballard, Tacita Dean developed the idea for her new film JG. However, the origin of the project goes back to 1997 when, travelling to the United States, Tacita Dean decided to visit Rozel Point in order to see Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. She didn’t manage to locate the Jetty but instead created a sound piece entitled Trying to Find the Spiral Jetty, in which she recorded this experience.
Tacita Dean’s fascination with this emblematic work led her to make contact with J.G. Ballard, also a great admirer of Smithson. Dean and Ballard exchanged a series of letters in which they discussed the striking resemblance between the Spiral Jetty and Ballard’s short story The Voices of Time. The discovery of Ballard’s book in Robert Smithson’s own, library confirmed this connection between the two men.
The unsolved mystery surrounding Smithson’s work prompted Ballard to write to Dean, just before his death in 2009, and advised her to “treat it as a mystery that your film will solve”.1
Shot on several locations in both Utah and California, the images of salt lakes became entwined with Smithson’s Jetty and Ballard’s short story. Tacita Dean’s real interest is to film time:
“Both works have an analog heart, not just because they were made or written when spooling and reeling were the means to record and transmit images and sound, but because their spiraling is analogous to time itself.”2
In order to “mix landscape and time in the same frame”3, Tacita Dean used a special technique she developped for her work Film shown in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in 2012. This new technique used various purpose made masks of different shapes to mask the gate aperture rendering an effect of stenciling, layering the filmed images. JG is an astonishing kaleidoscopic experimental film, which could never have been made using a digital format, its beauty is unique to the abilities of analogue film.
1 J.G. Ballard in a letter to Tacita Dean dated 4 December 2007.
2 Tacita Dean in “JG a film project by Tacita Dean”, Arcadia University Gallery of Art, 2013 p.15.
3 Tacita Dean in “Tacita Dean takes on Spiral Jetty — again”, by Gareth Harris, The Artnewspaper, 31 January 2013.
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