The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney has unveiled a major exhibition of the acclaimed international artist Tacita Dean as part of the Sydney International Art Series 2023/2024. Featuring key works that capture Dean's investigations into themes of chance, memory, entropy, history and time. This represents the largest presentation of the artist's work in the Southern Hemisphere, and includes the premiere of a new film as well as the Australian premiere of her most recent installation.

Tacita Dean (b. 1965, Canterbury, UK) is renowned for her compelling works across multiple mediums including film, photography, sound, installation, drawing, printmaking and collage. Based between Berlin and Los Angeles, Dean is an incredibly influential artist and a passionate advocate for photochemical film as a medium of artistic expression. She has said:

My relationship to film begins at that moment of shooting and ends in the moment of projection. Along the way, there are several stages of magical transformation that imbue the work with varying layers of intensity. This is why the film image is different from the digital image: it is not only emulsion versus pixels, or light versus electronics, but something deeper – something to do with poetry.

Among the exhibition highlights are:

- A major new film installation, Geography Biography (2023), Dean’s most biographical work to date. The film is a portrait of two places that have shaped Dean’s life and work: Berlin, where she has lived since 2000; and Los Angeles, where she has spent extended periods since 2014. The film juxtaposes scenes from both cities in a diptych format that creates unexpected connections and contrasts between them.

- The artist’s most recent film, Claes Oldenburg draws Blueberry Pie (2023), featuring the American Pop artist Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929 – d. 2022) drawing in his Manhattan studio. The film is an homage to Oldenburg’s iconic sculptures of everyday objects and food items, as well as a meditation on artistic creation and aging.

- A selection of Dean’s signature chalkboard drawings, which she makes by erasing chalk from a blackboard to create ghostly images that evoke landscapes or natural phenomena. The drawings are often inspired by literary sources or historical figures, such as Emily Dickinson or Robert Walser.

The exhibition is curated by MCA Director Suzanne Cotter, Senior Curator of Exhibitions Jane Devery, and Curator Megan Robson. Cotter highlights the significance of Dean’s work, noting:

Tacita Dean is undoubtedly one of our greatest living artists and an artist that truly speaks to our contemporary moment. Aesthetically seductive and scintillating in its intelligence, her work is a profound and poetic response to the world as a visual sensation and as a metaphor for time and the interconnectedness of people, places and things.

The exhibition is accompanied by a rich program of events and activities. These include guided tours, talks by curators and experts, workshops for children and families, and access programs for visitors with special needs. Artist books are available at the MCA Store. More information about the exhibition can be found here.

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