Artist Tacita Dean pays tribute to analogue film in her latest exhibit at the Tate Modern’s Tubine Hall.
Artist Tacita Dean pays homage to "the analogue, photochemical, non-digital medium of film” in larger-than-life form in her latest exhibit, called “FILM”, which is showing now through March 11, 2012 at the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall.
Dean layers her images of lightning, trees and seascapes with colors and even the architectural elements of the building itself, like a real-time double exposure roll of film. Based in Berlin, she says her “show is a love letter to the type of film she has used throughout her career, but which is being chased out of existence by the digital format”. She says film is her working material, much like paint is a painter’s material. In her homage to film she hopes to show people just how threatened film is in this digital age and the loss the world will suffer if it disappears.
For those who haven’t visited the Tate (like myself), it’s hard to imagine the vastness of Turbine Hall. This great space, which is five stories tall and contains 3,400 square meters of space, was once home to the electricity generators that occupied the space before it was converted to a museum.
Upon entering the darkened hall, one will see a 13-meter tall screen onto which an eleven-minute silent 35mm looped film is projected, sprockets and all. To take advantage of the scale of the Hall, the movie lens was turned ninety degrees so that, instead of viewing it in typical landscape format, you view the movie in portrait format instead. Dean even includes those elements that usually end up on the cutting room floor by layering colored filters over the flashy, bright areas of film created as the camera stops and starts. Fading pictures from the tail end of the film are also included.
Another filmmaker, Steven Spielberg, feels the same way as Dean, stating in the show’s catalog that film’s “days are numbered, but I will remain loyal to this analogue film until the last lab closes”.