Tacita Dean: Antigone
Production | Exhibition Grant
Tacita Dean, an artist and vocal advocate for the preservation of the medium of film, debuted her most ambitious project to date – Antigone in May 2018. Dean’s work is characterized by a sense of history, time and place, light quality, and the essence of the film itself. In line with these themes, the project is composed of a two-screen 35 mm film installation celebrating the quality and techniques of photochemical film. Derived from the origin of her own sister’s name, Antigone takes its starting point from the undramatized part between two of Sophocles’ three Theban plays, Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus, whose mythological character, Antigone, guides her blind and lame father, Oedipus, through the wilderness. The film underscores the importance of film experimentation and highlight the endeavor of film, as a medium, to find a form between art, cinema and theater.
Experimenting with chance and contingency, Dean applies the aperture gate masking technique she invented, where people, landscapes, and places can be filmed simultaneously through multiple exposures in the same film frame to challenge traditional narrative and create a contemplative experience for the viewer. In this work, Dean alludes to the concept of blindness, filming a total eclipse of the sun and relying on “blind faith” in her film experimentation. Shot in the US, and the UK, Antigone features actor Stephen Dillane, poet and playwright Anne Carson and publisher Peter Mayer, and premiered at the Royal Academy of Arts, London this spring.