66 DEAD 4/5 leafed clovers
For her Collector's Edition, Tacita Dean has photographed an envelope that has been part of her life for over thirty years. Its contents would have joined her ongoing Four, Five, Six and Seven Leaf Clover Collection, which she started at the age of eight and still contributes to, if not for a stroke of ill fate — a dark counterpart to the serendipity that sustains not only her whole clover collection but also much of her art.
The Collector's Edition
Tacita Dean’s Collector’s Edition gives a unique opportunity to own a limited edition silver gelatin print on fibre paper by Tacita Dean. The edition was printed in 2008, in a edition limited of 45. Phaidon Collector's Editions are commissioned by and created especially for Phaidon Press. Each comprises a special edition of the book that is beautifully bound, individually signed and numbered, and presented in a custom-made box together with an original print that is signed and numbered by Tacita Dean.
With films, drawings, photographs, audio recordings and installations, Berlin-based English artist Tacita Dean explores the ways that chance and coincidence influence daily life, constructing narratives that connect past and present, fact and fiction, private histories and larger events.
With films, drawings, photographs, audio recordings and installations, Berlin-based English artist Tacita Dean explores the ways that chance and coincidence influence daily life, constructing narratives that connect past and present, fact and fiction, private histories and larger events. Across one archipelago of works – Disappearance at Sea (1996), Disappearance at Sea II (1996) and Teignmouth Electron (1999) – Dean documents the tragic account of Donald Crowhurst and his attempt to fake a solo voyage around the globe, which culminated in his eventual loss of sanity and his death at sea. The works tell the story through various fragments and landscapes, including a magnificent sea vista from a lighthouse beacon that produce what the artist refers to as a ‘missing narrative’ reminiscent of an atmospheric nineteenth-century seascape painting.
Dean's compulsion to archive forgotten fragments of history is perhaps best captured in FLOH (2002), a collection of photographs she discovered in flea markets across Europe and America – holiday snaps or banal occurrences retrieved and preserved for the future. Other works include a Jukebox (2000) filled with ambient sound recorded around the world on the eve of the new millennium; views of a changing Berlin filmed from the revolving Fernsehturm television tower (Fernsehturm, 2001); and the sounds of a frustrated attempt to follow directions (as misleading as they are meticulous) to find Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty in Utah's Great Salt Lake (Trying to Find the Spiral Jetty, 1997).
Art and cinema theorist Jean-Christophe Royoux uses his Survey to dissect the multiple layers of time – durational and historical – at play in Tacita Dean’s work. In the Interview, writer and art historian Marina Warner talks to the artist about the remarkable origins of several of her works, highlighting their charmed relationship to chance. Literature and culture critic Germaine Greer uses the Focus to examine the man and the building at the heart of the three-part film installation Boots (2003). For Artist’s Choice, Dean has selected a 1939 poem by W. B. Yeats and a passage from a 1995 novel by W. G. Sebald that both capture the elegiac spirit of the her own work. Artist’s Writings range from a reflection on the distant South Atlantic island Tristan da Cunha to a very personal obituary Dean wrote about the Italian artist Mario Merz. Also included are project notes on a half dozen of the artist’s key works.
About the contributors
Jean-Christophe Royoux is a Paris-based critic and art historian whose writing centres on artists who work with the moving image. The founder of the artistic production agency Histoires Parallèles, he is well known for his theoretical texts exploring the work of Marcel Broodthaers, James Coleman, Stan Douglas and Pierre Huyghe. Exhibitions Royoux has curated include ‘Off-Screen ou les miroirs du sujet’ and ‘Radio Dramas: In the Labyrinth of Visual Voices’.
Marina Warner writes fiction, criticism, and cultural history. She has contributed to numerous catalogues and curated several exhibitions, including ‘Only Make-Believe: Ways of Playing’ at Compton Verney in Warwickshire, UK (2005). Her most recent book is Figuring the Soul: Spirits in the Media Age. She is Professor of Literature, Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Essex.
Germaine Greer is a noted intellectual, feminist and public speaker. Raised in Australia and educated in England, Greer has written books on literature, art and society, most famously The Female Eunuch (1970).
In the press
'The boldest, best executed, and most far-reaching publishing project devoted to contemporary art. These books will revolutionize the way contemporary art is presented and written about.'
'The combination of intelligent analysis, personal insight, useful facts and plentiful pictures is a superb format invaluable for specialists but also interesting for casual readers, it makes these books a must for the library of anyone who cares about contemporary art.'
'A unique series of informative monographs on individual artists.'
—The Sunday Times
'Gives the reader the impression of a personal encounter with the artists. Apart from the writing which is lucid and illuminating, it is undoubtedly the wealth of lavish illustrations which makes looking at these books a satisfying entertainment.'
—The Art Book
"One day, I found a whole crop of 4 and 5 leafed clovers in the garden. I had already been collecting them since the age of 8."
Pictured: Chère petite soeur, 2002. Courtesy of the artist, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York / Paris and Frith Street Gallery, London
Tacita Dean works in the vanguard of contemporary artists who, using a range of materials, assemble rare and fleeting phenomena into idiosyncratic archives. Her commitment to 16 mm film in particular is a testament to the ideal union of medium and subject, as can be seen in her filmed portraits of choreographer Merce Cunningham, poet Michael Hamburger and artist Mario Merz. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at museums around the world, including the Center for Contemporary Art in Kitakyushu (2006), the Guggenheim Museum in New York (2007), the Musée d'art Contemporain de Montrèal (2009) and Tate Modern in London (2011). Originally from England, she has been living in Berlin since 2000.
Phaidon Press Collector's Editions
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About Phaidon Press Collector's Editions
Collector's Editions are commissioned by and created specially for Phaidon Press.
Each comprises a special edition of a Phaidon book that is beautifully bound, individually signed and numbered, and presented in a custom-made box together with an original artwork made and also signed and numbered by the artist.