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Published in BBC Radio 3 , September 2013
Tacita Dean’s film JG is on display at Frith Street Gallery in London from 13th September - 26th October 2013. The film is inspired by the artist’s correspondence with author J.G. Ballard regarding connections between his short story The Voices of Time and Robert Smithson’s earthwork and film Spiral Jetty.
Published in The Guardian, June 2013
‘I’ve always been happy to sleep with the enemy’
The artist tells Nicholas Wroe that getting out of her comfort zone and challenging prejudices is what makes her tick.
Published in BBC Radio 4, June 2013
Cornelia Parker is best known for installations involving the exploding of a garden shed, Tilda Swinton sleeping in a glass case and the wrapping of Rodin’s The Kiss in a mile of string. She reflects on her latest exhibition, and a new book on her work.
Published in BBC Radio 3 , June 2013
Cornelia Parker: As a comprehensive inventory of sculptures and installations from 1970 to the present comes out, complete with commentary by the artist herself, her latest works go on show in London. As restlessly inventive as ever, Parker takes us round the exhibition and explains how cracks in pavements evolve into bronze monuments via molton rubber
Published in BBC Four, June 2013
With a new exhibition of her work opening in London in June, this film follows artist Cornelia Parker as she prepares for the show, working on several new pieces including her latest project - bronze sculptures of cracks in the pavement.
In the past, Cornelia has blown up a shed, squashed a brass band and famously collaborated with Tilda Swinton, who was exhibited sleeping in a glass case. One of Britain’s most original and acclaimed contemporary artists, her work encourages us to look differently at the world, transforming familiar objects into extraordinary and surprising art.
Published in ArtForum, 3 June 2013
John Riddy’s photographs of Palermo are the outcome of repeated visits to the Italian city over several years. This series, made over a span of three years beginning in 2011, feature superb monochrome images that possess a thrilling intensity and a sense of complete resolution. Looking at them, one can imagine Riddy doggedly trudging the city streets and returning again and again to possible locations, to assess whether the light, perspective, architecture, textures, and distribution of details might generate a picture that announces itself as definitive—inevitable, even. His habit of shooting in the early morning leads to pictures that are literally depopulated, but metaphorically screeching with traces of human activity, from the setting up of shrines and monuments to the spraying of graffiti.
Published in Financial Times, 17 May 2013
She famously blew up a garden shed and displayed a sleeping Tilda Swinton in a glass case. Remaining staunchly apart from the hype of the YBAs to follow her own path, she has become one of Britain’s most popular artists.
It is more than 20 years ago now since Cornelia Parker pushed the plunger on an army detonator and blew a garden shed and all its contents to smithereens. This was an early example of a process she would repeat over the next two decades: the transformation, often through violent means, of a familiar object to an unfamiliar form, which could be unexpectedly beautiful in its reincarnation, and always retained a ghost of its former self. With the shed, she’d gathered up the charred pieces and hung them in a delicate abstract formation around a single lightbulb in the Chisenhale Gallery in London. The result was like a cartoon recreation of the original blast, and inside the industrial space of the gallery the shadows of the debris exploded once again around the walls. There, in 1991, she gave what would become her world-famous work its title – “Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View”.
This was a year before Damien Hirst’s shark in formaldehyde was exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, and two years before Jay Jopling opened the White Cube gallery, which would support many of those the media lumped together under the label Young British Artists. She was not much older than them but Cornelia Parker was, and has remained, separate, over the years building up a body of work that is as individual, as intellectually complex and as multifaceted as that of any artist working today.
Published in Frieze d/e, 7 May 2013
Before his death in 2012, Chicago gallerist Donald Young commissioned nine artists for an exhibition series of projects responding to the work of Swiss writer Robert Walser (1878–1956). Tacita Dean’s contribution, Berlin and the Artist (2012), is a series of collaged images using found postcards and drawings from around Walser’s time. The book In The Spirit of Walser is based on the exhibition series. Released this spring by New Directions Press, New York, it includes Dean’s essay Sluggardizing and illustrations from her project alongside stories by Walser himself.
PABLO LARIOS: I’ve been reading your essay Sluggardizing .
TACITA DEAN: Robert Walser uses that word in his story, Berlin and the Artist (1910). It refers to the hermetic element of an artistic life. What I love about the story is Walser’s intimation that you can effectively be doing work while seeming passive – when you’re lying in bed or staring at the ceiling. Walser understands something about the artistic process that is so often misunderstood or mischaracterized. Working on the images for this project, Berlin and the Artist, I was lying on my bed gazing up at a turn-of-the-century ceiling. To the outside world it would have looked like I was being lazy but, in fact, I was ‘sluggardizing’.
PL: Walser’s story is also an account of artistic life in Berlin, where he lived from 1905 before returning to Switzerland a century ago in 1913 (in his words, as a ‘ridiculed and unsuccessful author’). The suggestion – in both of your texts – is that there’s something unique about artistic life in this city. How did your project come about?
TD: Donald Young, who died three days before the exhibition opened in his gallery last year, had sent me a copy of Microscripts, a compilation of Walser’s coded texts that were translated into English in 2010. The miniscule notes had fascinated Donald. Some time after reading this book, I went with Lynne Cooke to a flea market in Berlin. Very strangely, we came upon hundreds of pencil drawings by an artist called Martin Stekker. It was a remarkable discovery: Berlin observations from a century ago.
Related Artists: Tacita Dean
Published in The Financial Times, 26 April 2013
From the Venice Biennale to the Hayward Gallery, photographer Dayanita Singh is having a big year.
In an age of Google Maps, hardly anyone gets lost. Yet on a bitter January morning, I find myself asking for directions in a Japanese supermarket in London’s Soho en route to a show by Dayanita Singh.
The experience could have been the fruit of Singh’s imagination: no one is better than the Delhi-based photographer at hinting at labyrinths beyond the image in her lens.
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Her exhibition, when I do find it, encapsulates those metaphysical gifts. Entitled File Museum, it gathers photographs of the archives of India’s public offices prior to digitalisation. Taken over decades, Singh has chronicled a neglected kingdom: shelves sinking under box files; a cupboard colonised by volume-spilling sacks. Room after room walled in by racks of documents: abandoned, dusty, unseen by all but their elderly custodians.
Published in Time Out, 25 April 2013
In John Riddy’s sombre series of cityscapes, the seasoned British photographer envisions the Sicilian capital as an empty stage, devoid of players or inhabitants. Absence and ruin linger here, hinting at our own mortality in the face of an enduring urban landscape. The debris of human existence litters each frame; an abandoned car lies drenched in shadow and empty fruit and veg boxes swim through dark, concrete streets. Riddy exploits this greyscale to its full advantage, finding moments of pure pictorial poetry against a backdrop of neglect.
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