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Tacita Dean, 150 Years of Painting
Tacita Dean

Solo exhibition

This solo exhibition, devoted to the work of acclaimed artist Tacita Dean (b. 1965, Canterbury) – the first of its kind in Luxembourg and the Greater Region – presents new and recent works including films, drawings, and large-scale photographs. The exhibition will feature a trilogy of works designed for the upcoming production of the Royal Ballet in London called The Dante Project, which was inspired by Dante Alighieri’s (b. 1265, Florence; d. 1321, Ravenna) Divine Comedy.

Tacita Dean’s work is informed by a sense of time and place, subject and history and a respect for nature. The sea, sky and mountains are recurrent motifs within her large-scale chalk drawings on blackboards. These works, which convey the transience of natural phenomena, serve as metaphors for memory. Dean’s works on 16 mm and 35 mm film, for which she is best known, are often characterised by their long static shots, which capture the density of a moment and reveal the inner world of artists. Merce Cunningham, Cy Twombly, David Hockney and Mario Merz have all been the subjects of Dean’s films. Her work since 2006 has also addressed the disappearance of analogue technologies, including the reduced use of photochemical film and the implications of this for contemporary culture. For Dean digital technologies promote archives of unedited mass: ‘A world that won’t forget is a world drowned in its not forgetting’.

The new works that Dean has created for The Dante Project come out of a collaboration with choreographer Wayne McGregor and composer Thomas Adès. A large-scale chalk drawing, a photography-based work and a 35 mm abstract film describe Dante’s epic journey through the afterlife and the worlds of the Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. Presented as a journey through mediums, it evolves from negative to positive, from representation to abstraction, and from black- and-white to colour. This trilogy of works will be accompanied by One Hundred and Fifty Years of Painting (2021), a filmed conversation between artists Luchita Hurtado (b. 1920, Caracas; d. 2020, Santa Monica) and Julie Mehretu (b. 1970, Addis-Abeba), made as a result of the coincidence of their birthdays exactly 50 years apart. This film is the centrepiece around which the second half of the exhibition is curated.

Biography
Tacita Dean (b. 1965, Canterbury) has recently held solo exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2021); EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland (2020); Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, Denmark (2019); Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal (2019); and Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2018). In 2018, she had three simultaneous exhibitions in London entitled LANDSCAPE, PORTRAIT and STILL LIFE at the Royal Academy of Arts, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, respectively. In 2011, she made FILM, as part of the Unilever Series at Tate Modern, which marked the beginning of her campaign to protect and preserve photochemical film. In October 2021, a new ballet based on Dante’s Divine Comedy entitled The Dante Project will premiere at the Royal Opera House in London with Royal Ballet’s resident choreographer Wayne McGregor (b. 1970, Stockport), conductor-composer Thomas Adès (b. 1971, London) and with sets and costumes designed by Dean. In 2014–15, she was the Artist in Residence at the Getty Research Institute. She lives and works in both Berlin and Los Angeles.

Credits

Location:
Mudam Galleries Level 1
Curators:
  • Suzanne Cotter and Christophe Gallois, assisted by Clémentine Proby

Publication:
  • A new two-volume publication edited by Mudam Luxembourg is planned to accompany the exhibition. One volume will focus exclusively on the trio of works for The Dante Project.