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Published in ArtForum, September 2012
In a short video made to accompany FILM, her 2011 piece for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in London, Tacita Dean begins by describing the making of ‘The Green Ray’, 2001. The title alludes to the last flash of light from the setting sun - which is ‘just slower than the red or the yellow ray.’ To capture this elusive aura, often witnessed by sailors, she watched the sunset off Madagascar. Positioning her camera, loaded with its spool of celluloid, she began the exposure and waited. As the sun disappeared under the horizon, Dean ‘believed byt was never sure’ she saw a flash of green. Next to her were two observers with a video camera. They neither saw nor captured the phenomenon, and insisted their video proved that Dean had not seen it either. But when Dean’s film was developed, there - unmistakable in the fleeting movement of film frames - was the green ray. It had been too elusive for what she calls ‘the pixelation of the digital world’.
The rest of the article can be read in this month’s issue of ArtForum.
Related artists: Tacita Dean
Published in Modern Painters, 11 September 2012
They are photographs of strangers, yet we’ve see them countless times: toddlers grinning from foamy bathtubs, teenagers awkwardly showing off their first party dresses, granddads cuddling newborns. Local variations aside, they could be found pretty much anywhere, stuck on the yellowing cardboard pages of hefty photo albums. These pictures form Fiona Tan’s primary material for “Vox Populi.” In this series of wall pieces and books begun in 2004, the Indonesian-born, Amsterdam-based artist has selected and rearranged images she sourced in locations as varied as Norway, Switzerland, Tokyo, and Sydney, each time creating a multifaceted portrait of the place through the photographs of the people who live, or lived, in each locale.
Related artists: Fiona Tan
Published in Artforum, Summer 2012
If you cross London’s Waterloo Bridge heading south, you will see a familiar complex of large buildings that make up the Southbank Centre - the Royal Festival Hall, the National Theatre, the Hayward Gallery. To the right you will see the more recent gigantic wheel of the London Eye. And currently, perched on the roof of a convenient concert hall, you will see what looks like a new, small, stranded houseboat. It is a sort of houseboat, but it isn’t stranded. It has been designed (by the artist Fiona Banner and the architect David Kohn) to float there for a while. It is modeled on a Belgian river steamer called the Roi des Belges, once captained by Joseph Conrad in the Congo before he mythologized boat, river, Africa and all in ‘Heart of Darkness’ (1902).
Related artists: Fiona Banner
Published in Modern Painters, 6 July 2012
An artist best known for her photographs, Dayanita Singh has of late been investigating the archive. Her most recent series, “File Keepers,” developed out of “File Room,” a 2011 series of 36 black- and-white photographs depicting the crowded interiors of document archives in India; it was originally shown at the Venice Biennale last year. “File Keepers” focuses instead on the individuals who maintain those facilities. The two projects were first presented together in the exhibition “Monument of Knowledge” at King’s College London earlier this year. It makes sense that Singh has focused on the ways in which information is stored and preserved, considering her interest in collecting photographs in book form. To date she has published 10 volumes, often with unique structural conceits — inventive bindings, or photographs arranged and presented in a box — that challenge and provoke the customary modes of digesting images.
Related artists: Dayanita Singh
Published in The Guardian, 11 June 2012
A gentle but relentless breeze, courtesy of British artist Ryan Gander, blows through the Fridericianum in Kassel, one of the world’s oldest museums. Three small sculptures by Julio Gonzáles, first shown at the second Documenta show in 1959, stand in the draught. It’s the wind of history, an air of uncertainty and impermanence. We are blown about.
Kassel’s history and Germany’s are unavoidable at Documenta 13, which opened on Saturday. The show fills the city, from the train station to Karlsaue park, from Kassel’s museums to its theatres and cinemas, from houses to hotel ballrooms. Documenta takes place every five years, lasts 100 days, and features 200 artists. You might even be tempted to travel further: to Kabul, where an Afghan outpost of the exhibition continues; or to Alexandria, Cairo and Banff, where more related events are taking place.
Tacita Dean has brought the mountains of Afghanistan to Kassel, filling a former banking hall with enormous, beautiful blackboard drawings. Some are near-empty, just turbid blackness; others are filled with moiling rapids and rushing rivers. There are sunlit mountaintops, dusty avalanches, chalky wipe-outs. The six panels are a sort of storyboard, an evocation of an elsewhere. Dean’s drawings are, I think, about time: geological time, the flash of a life, a passing thought.
Published in inhabitat, 10 June 2012
In Ghent, Belgium, St. Peter’s Abbey Vineyard has been a part of the town landscape since the Middle Ages. Now this historic vineyard has gotten a beautiful new addition, dubbed Bookyard, which was recently installed by the Italian artist Massimo Bartolini. Designed as part of the art festival Track: A Contemporary City Conversation, 12 sweeping bookcases align with the Abbey’s grapevines and harken back to an old world Europe that was once filled with bounded print, and free from digital forms.
Related artists: Massimo Bartolini
Published in The New Yorker, 2012-04-12 02:10 PM
Here’s what happens in “Edwin Parker” (2011), the English artist Tacita Dean’s twenty-nine-minute film of Cy Twombly: nothing much. He pads around his studio in Lexington, Virginia, in a herringbone tweed jacket and high-waisted linen trousers. He picks up a plaster object and sets it down. He opens an aerogramme and skims an article in the Financial Times. He goes to lunch at a local diner. Occasionally, he says a few words to an assistant, which we can’t quite make out. But mostly he sits, near his studio’s front window, behind drawn blinds in the fading light, impeccable and aloof, like one of his white-plaster sculptures.
Related artists: Tacita Dean
Published in Guardian.co.uk, 22 March 2012
The Delhi-based trio Raqs Media Collective are Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. To describe them as artists doesn’t quite cut it. They make videos, high-tech objects, installations and online projects exploring a world reshaped by globalisation, from the blazing lights of India’s rapaciously evolving cities to the shabby gloom of a Tyneside dock. Since they founded Sarai, their Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, in Delhi in 2000, they’ve reached far beyond art’s usual bounds, developing media projects with local communities, conducting urban research, editing a journal and curating international exhibitions.
Raqs Media Collective
Published in Wall Street Journal, 22 March 2012
Callum Innes is best known for what critics dub “unpainting,” and he has collaborated on exhibits with such non-painters as novelist Colm Tóibin. But for an abstract, boundary-crossing artist, his reflections on art can sound almost traditional.
“I like the idea of beauty,” he says. “I see nothing wrong with the beautiful, for things to have a rightness about them.”
His first solo exhibition in Asia, at Edouard Malingue Gallery in Hong Kong, recently opened. The 1995 Turner Prize finalist shared his thoughts on seeing sound and the biggest problem with art.
Related artists: Callum Innes
Published in Artit , 12th February 2012
Describing herself as a bookmaker who works with photography, Dayanita Singh has a profound understanding of the pliability and reproducibility of images: how they are processed and can be printed or projected onto any surface, and how those surfaces themselves can be folded or unfolded, enlarged, expanded, compressed, carried, mailed or discarded. Constantly thinking about new ways to present her photographs, Singh continuously reinvents those photographs, in the way that language reinvents words. For her, then, all images are singular events that also intrinsically exist in relation to other images, or even in relation to past and future instances of their own apparition. For her, images have the same conditionality and abstraction as spoken words, always disappearing the instant they are materialized, formed and deformed by preceding and succeeding utterances or caesuras, yet, at times when decisively employed and at others simply as determined by chance and context, also capable of fastening in the mind’s eye an impression of the grave, exciting physicallity and consequentiality of the world around us.
Related artists: Dayanita Singh
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