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11 Oct 2011

Tacita Dean: ''I've turned the Turbine Hall into a strip of film''

An 11-minute silent film projected onto a giant monolith has been unveiled at Tate Modern's Turbine Hall.

Tacita Dean's artwork, entitled Film, features flickering images of snails, clocks, fountains, and giant bubbles.

The British artist describes the work as a "visual poem" that celebrates analogue film-making.

Last year Chinese artist Ai Weiwei filled the cavernous space with millions of porcelain "sunflower seeds".

The installation is the 12th commission in the Unilever series for the London gallery.

Dean's work takes the traditional landscape format of a cinema screen and turns it 90 degrees to fill the back of a darkened Turbine Hall.

"I've turned the Turbine Hall into a strip of film," said Dean at the launch of her artwork on Monday.

The looped movie, which has the appearance of a filmstrip with sprocket holes visible on each side, stands some 13 metres (42 feet) tall.

Dean made the work using in-camera and studio techniques, such as double exposure and glass-matte painting, that hark back to the early days of cinema. She even hand-tinted some of the images.

"It was a hell of a process. When I got the film back I didn't know what I was going to get."

Digital is also a fantastic medium. It's got massive potential," she said. "But I love film and I don't want to lose my ability to make film and it looks like I probably will."

The 45-year-old artist was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1998. She is the third British artist to fill the Turbine Hall - following in the footsteps of Anish Kapoor in 2002 and Rachel Whiteread in 2005.

Dean's previous film pieces have included the effect of the 1999 solar eclipse on a farm in Cornwall.

For 2009's Craneway Event, she filmed choreographer Merce Cunningham rehearsing his company in an abandoned car factory overlooking San Francisco bay.

Dean was born in Canterbury in 1965 and studied at the Falmouth School of Art, the Supreme School of Fine Art in Athens and the Slade School of Fine Art in London. She now lives and works in Berlin.

Previous installations in the Turbine Hall include Doris Salcedo's crack in the floor, Carsten Holler's spiralling slides and 2009's eerie pitch-dark steel chamber by Miroslaw Balka.


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