Tate and Unilever today announced that Tacita Dean will undertake the twelfth commission in The Unilever Series for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. The work will be unveiled on 11 October 2011.
Tacita Dean is one of the most respected artists working today. Her practice encompasses artist’s books, drawing, found objects, photography and sound installations, but she is best known for her use of 16mm film. Dean’s films act as depictions or portraits rather than conventional narratives, capturing fleeting natural light or subtle shifts in movement. Her film Banewl 1999 charts the effect of a solar eclipse on a farm in Cornwall, while Disappearance at Sea 1996 documents the transition from day to dusk as a lighthouse near Berwick-upon-Tweed becomes illuminated. In these works, her static camera positions and long takes allow events to unfold unhurriedly. Other works have attempted to reconstruct events from memories and remnants, such as recording a journey to find Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty or examining Donald Crowhurst’s thwarted attempt to circumnavigate the world.
Dean’s interest in the cinematic also extends to her work in other media. Works such as Foley Artist 1996 use analogue equipment as a prop to conceal a digital installation, creating an imaginary soundtrack through its sound effects. Her series of works on paper The Russian Ending 2001 borrows its title from the early Danish cinema tradition of making two alternate endings for a film: one happy for the American market and one tragic for the Russian market. The work consists of a series of etchings based on found postcards of catastrophes, which Dean annotated with handwritten cinematic notations.
Many of Dean’s works demonstrate the ways in which architectural space can be captured and transformed by the camera lens. These effects can be seen in Craneway Event 2009, the most recent in her series of film ‘portraits’. This work follows the choreographer Merce Cunningham (1919–2009) and his dance company rehearsing over three days in a former Ford assembly plant in California, designed by the architect Albert Kahn. Built of glass and steel and overlooking the San Francisco Bay, Dean’s film allows the ever-changing light of this environment to fall in rhythm with the dancers’ movements.
Tacita Dean was born in Canterbury in 1965. She studied at the Falmouth School of Art, the Supreme School of Fine Art in Athens and the Slade School of Fine Art in London. She now lives and works in Berlin and has exhibited her work around the world, including at Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin; Schaulager, Basel; Tate Britain, London and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Dean was nominated for the Turner prize in 1998 and was awarded the Hugo Boss Prize in 2006 and the Kurt Schwitters Prize in 2009. She also participated in the Venice Biennale in 2003 and 2005.
The Unilever Series: Tacita Dean is curated by Nicholas Cullinan, Curator of International Modern Art, Tate Modern, assisted by Iria Candela, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern.
Sheena Wagstaff, Chief Curator, Tate Modern said:
Tacita Dean has created some of the most fascinating and elegiac works of recent years. Her interest in light, space and history, as well as her keen sense of the cinematic and the sublime, make her a perfect choice for The Unilever Series. We look forward to seeing how she responds to the architecture and space of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in October 2011.
Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Unilever plc said:
Unilever is delighted that Tate has asked Tacita Dean to become the twelfth artist in The Unilever Series. Since The Unilever Series began in 2000, over 25 million people have experienced some truly remarkable and original installations. We look forward to the unveiling of Tacita’s commission in October 2011, which will no doubt capture the imagination of the public.
Notes to Editor
The Unilever Series of annual commissions was launched in 2000 when Tate Modern opened with Louise Bourgeois’s I Do, I Undo, I Redo. The Spanish artist Juan Muñoz was the second artist commissioned in 2001 with Double Bind, and the first British artist was Anish Kapoor with Marsyas in 2002. Olafur Eliasson’s Weather Project illuminated the Turbine Hall in 2003 and Bruce Nauman’s mesmerising sound installation Raw Materials opened in October 2004. In 2005 Rachel Whiteread created her installation EMBANKMENT, followed by Carsten Höller’s interactive spiralling slides Test Site in 2006. In 2007 Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth dramatically broke open the floor of the Turbine Hall, while Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s TH.2058 transformed the Turbine Hall into a futuristic shelter in 2008. Miroslaw Balka created the eerie How It Is in 2009, a vast steel chamber with a pitch black interior, and this year Ai Weiwei created Sunflower Seeds, a landscape of over 100 million hand-made porcelain replicas of seeds.
Unilever’s sponsorship of The Unilever Series at Tate Modern began in 2000 and has been extended until 2012. The Unilever Series has inspired over 25 million visitors to Tate Modern. The commission is also the basis for cultural exchange thanks to the success of The Unilever Series: turbinegeneration. Launched in 2009, turbinegeneration is an online education project linking schools across the globe. 30 countries will be taking part in the project by 2012. The Unilever Series and the associated education programme reflect Unilever’s commitment to inspirational and thought-provoking art.