A brush with... Tacita Dean

An in-depth interview on the artist's big influences, from Cy Twombly to WG Sebald

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Tacita Dean Photo: Jim Rakete

Tacita Dean Photo: Jim Rakete

A brush with...

In this new podcast, based on The Art Newspaper's regular interview series, our host Ben Luke talks to artists in-depth. He asks the questions you've always wanted to: who are the artists, historical and contemporary, they most admire? Which are the museums they return to? What are the books, music and other media that most inspire them? And what is art for, anyway?

In this episode of A brush with..., Tacita Dean talks to Ben Luke about the artists, writers, musicians and other cultural figures who inspire and intrigue her, and the pivotal cultural moments in her life.

A film still from Tacita Dean's Pan Amicus (2021) Courtesy of the artist; Frith Street Gallery, London and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris

Tacita Dean's 16mm and 35mm films, drawings on blackboard, photogravures, collages, sound works and found object pieces form one of the most poetic bodies of work in contemporary art. Dean was born in 1965 in Canterbury in the UK, but for most of her life as an artist has lived outside of Britain, first in Berlin, which has provided the location for some of her most compelling works, and now between the German capital and Los Angeles.

A photograph taken during the making of Tacita Dean's One Hundred and Fifty Years of Painting (2021) Courtesy of the artist; Frith Street Gallery, London and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris. Photo: Mathew Hale

As the three-venue group of museum shows she had in London in 2018 proved, Dean has a deep engagement with the traditional genres of art, making numerous moving portraits on film, as well as stirring and lyrical works exploring landscape, seascape and cityscape. Although film is her primary medium, her works are intimately connected in form and content. Her films regularly have a distinctive painterly quality, evoke the process of collage, and relate directly to her drawings.

Tacita Dean's Purgatory (Threshold, 2020) Courtesy of the artist; Frith Street Gallery, London and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris. Photo: Stephen White & Co

In this podcast she talks about her love of film as a medium, the pioneering techniques she uses, her encounters with the work of Giotto, with Cy Twombly and Julie Mehretu, and the influence of writers including WG Sebald and JG Ballard. She also discusses her work for The Dante Project, a new production at the Royal Opera House in London with choreography by Wayne McGregor and music by Thomas Adès, for which she has provided the costumes and set designs. Plus, she responds to the ultimate questions we ask all our guests: if you could live with just one work of art what would it be? And what is art for?

A detail from Tacita Dean's Inferno (2019) Courtesy of the artist; Frith Street Gallery, London and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

A brush with… series 6 runs from 15 September - 6 October 2021, with episodes released on Wednesdays. You can download and subscribe to the podcast here. This episode is sponsored by Bloomberg Connects.

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