In her films, photographs, drawings and installations, Tacita Dean has often explored obsolete structures and machinery that remind us of past visions of the future. These have included a television tower in the former East Berlin, 1930s acoustic early-warning systems on the south-east coast of England, and the technology of film itself. Kodak was filmed at the Kodak factory in Chalon-sur-Saône, using for its black-and-white sections some of the last monochrome standard 16mm film stock the company produced. The film is a portrait of a dying medium still capable of capturing ravishing images, in this case of its own process of manufacture.
The photogravures that make up Dean’s series The Russian Ending mostly show scenes of disaster or destruction: depictions of shipwreck, natural disaster or wartime desolation. The images are derived from postcards collected by Dean on her visits to European flea markets. The series takes its title from a convention in early Danish cinema whereby two versions of each film were produced: one with a happy ending for the American market, another with a tragic ending for Russian audiences.