Tacita Dean is an artist who first made her presence felt in the 1990s with works made mostly on 16 and 35mm film, but she also uses various other mediums including drawing, photography, printmaking and artist's books, as well as collecting and using found objects.
Regardless of medium, recurring themes have ranged from the elemental including drawings of the sea and clouds, to projects that feature architectural, natural and sometimes human ruins, with her recent series of portrait films.
Dean's work focuses on subjects that often appear to be undervalued or treated with general indifference, and therefore not subject to the widespread culture of urgency that dominates contemporary art. She is also interested in the concept of chance: frequently originating from found images–objets trouvés or from within an idea that derives from personal or historical events, she invites the viewer to join her on elliptical artistic journeys.
Her references to classical themes, at the core of which lies an interest in current social or political issues, are clues to her personal path to the unmapped part of the self and of life. Tacita Dean, not beguiled by current trends, creates her own map of the world, which is closer to the poetic and not to the realistic meaning of things, places, persons, myths, facts and narratives.
The title of the work Blind Pan alludes to blinded Oedipus and the Greek god of wildlife Pan, but also to cinematic and photographic terminology, where the term 'pan' means rotating the camera horizontally from a fixed position. This particular work presages her later work Antigone (2018), and its starting point is the discovery of a black and white photo depicting an unidentified landscape, which becomes the setting for a journey for Oedipus and Antigone. The journey is dictated by handwritten, storyboard-like notes, and is transformed into an imaginary, abstract movement through time and the universe of ancient Sophoclean tragedy. Oedipus and Antigone are positioned in a wilderness landscape, where the sense of place, as the complex setting of human life, is the perennially unknown and tragic horizon of the world. In the words of Oedipus and Antigone:
Can you tell me, now, where we have come to?
Athens I know. But this place, not.
(Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus)
From the classical past to the precarious present, Tacita Dean maintains the position, or "stance", of exceptional consistency as an artist, leading us, through imaginary blindness, on a stable journey through an unstable life, where everything can be swept away at any moment before starting anew.
MOMus-Museum of Contemporary Art-Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and State Museum of Contemporary Art Collections