Tacita Dean

Tacita Dean, FILM, 2011, installation view, Tate Modern, London. Copyright: Tate Modern

Installation, 35 mm color and black & white portrait format anamorphic film with hand-tinted sequences, silent, continuous loop, 11 minutes

UK 2011


Dean’s epic monument to celluloid film was commissioned as part of the Unilever Series at the Tate Modern gallery in London, and was installed in the Turbine Hall from October 2011 to March 2012. Standing thirteen meters high, the installation appears as a giant strip of 35mm film, instantly recognizable through the iconic sprocket holes on either side of the image. All effects were created in-camera, using a digitally printed aperture gate mask that would allow for multiple exposures. The images themselves contain poetic scenes of natural phenomena – flowing water, sunlight breaking through trees – juxtaposed with surreal compositions and brightly colored flashing mosaics reminiscent of Piet Mondrian. The vertical form of the work was the result of a simple but imaginative 90 degrees rotation of a 35mm anamorphic lens, stretching the film from top to bottom rather than left to right, and thus producing “a portrait format film for a portrait format space” (Dean 2011: 16). Made in the wake of the closure of Soho Film Lab in London, FILM is a gesture of resistance and a celebration of analog materials now increasingly under threat.

“Culturally and socially, we are moving too fast and losing too much in our haste. We are also being deceived, silently and conspiratorially. Analogue, the word, means equivalent. Digital is not the analogue of analogue. At the moment we have both, so why deplete our world of this choice? We must fight to keep a foothold on Mount Analogue” (Dean 2011: 33). (Kim Knowles)


Tacita Dean, born in Canterbury, UK in 1965, lives and works in Berlin.

1.–3. Tacita Dean, FILM, 2011, installation view, Tate Modern, London, photo by Marcus Leith & Andrew Dunkley.

All images: Courtesy the artist; Frith Street Gallery London and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris.



Tacita Dean, “FILM,” in Catalogue for the exhibition FILM, 11 October 2011 – 11 March 2012 (London: Tate Publishing, 2011).

Kim Knowles, “Tacita Dean: FILM,” Millennium Film Journal 56, Fall 2012, pp. 4–6.

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