Sunday, April 3, 2016

Tacita Dean: "… my English breath in foreign clouds" - Marion Goodman Gallery

 The work featured in Tacita Dean’s … my English breath in foreign clouds is connected by a theme that sometimes fails to bridge the large variety of media included in the show. The exhibition features films, photographs, prints, drawings and paintings that function as portraits of artists.

A Concordance of Fifty American Clouds is a collection of representations of clouds in a variety of media. The title comes from the book A Complete Concordance to Shakespeare, which is an index of the words, phrases and passages in the works of the author. The visual reference to the clouds relates to the smoke that comes from David Hockney’s cigarettes  in Portraits, when Dean filmed the artist smoking in his studio. In Buon Fresco, she recorded Giotto’s frescos in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Italy, showing details of the painting using a macro lens. In Fifty Photographs, Plus One, Dean documents Cy Twombly’s house and studio in Italy, focusing on details and close ups of furniture, books, and personal belongings instead of open shots of the spaces.

Despite of the beauty of the concept of A Concordance of Fifty American Clouds, the use of spray chalk, white charcoal pencil, and gouache on Victorian school slates as media do not relate to the filmic quality of the rest of the show. There is a rupture in the show because of the difference in texture between the clouds and the rest of the exhibition. Nevertheless, Dean portrays the subtlety of the routine of artists and their work with sensitivity and distinctive articulation.

1 comment:

  1. Your introductory paragraph does a good job of leading the reader into the rest of the critique. Then the descriptions pleasantly describe the array of artworks within the show. I enjoy the subtle observations that help connect the viewer to the show, and make your argument all the more strong. I did however feel that the third paragraph begins too abruptly. I enjoy that you call the artist out on their faults, while at the same time recognizing their strengths. Your final sentence is poetic and is a nice summation of the critique. However, it could be helpful to describe a little more why you feel one part of the show is “technically” inferior to the rest.