Tacita Dean: JG, Arcadia University Art Gallery, Philadelphia

British-born, Berlin-based artist Tacita Dean presents her new film project JG at the Arcadia University Art Gallery from 7 February until 21 April. Commissioned by and made for the gallery, with funding from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, JG is the sequel to FILM, Dean’s 2011 project for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. The film is inspired by the filmmaker’s correspondence with British author J.G. Ballard regarding connections between Robert Smithsonʼs iconic earthwork and film Spiral Jetty and Ballardʼs short story The Voices of Time.

JG is a 26-minute work is a looped 35mm anamorphic film shot on location in the saline landscapes of Utah and Southern California using Dean’s recently developed and patented system of aperture gate masking. This film stands as a radical departure from her previous 16mm films, as she tries to respond to Ballardʼs challenge, posed to her shortly before he died, that Dean should “treat the Spiral Jetty as a mystery her film would solve.” Dean’s aperture gate masking invention (that she developed for FILM) is a labour-intensive technique that allows for various shapes to be exposed within a single frame, giving it the capacity to traverse time and location due the necessity of putting the film through the camera multiple times. The resulting images, primarily of a variety of salt-encrusted landscapes, invite the viewers to experience time and place in ways that parallel the the effects of Ballardʼs fiction and Smithsonʼs earthwork and film.

Tacita Dean: JG, 7 February until 21 April, Arcadia University Art Gallery, 450 S. Easton Road Glenside, PA 19038 215-572-2131

All images courtesy of Tacita Dean.