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Celebrating 40 Years of Collaboration | Tacita Dean printed by Niels Borch Jensen

Tacita Dean, Expulsion from Paradise, 2021
Tacita Dean, Expulsion from Paradise, 2021 (detail)

On the occasion of BORCH Editions’ 40th anniversary, four of the printmaking studio’s collaborating artists teamed up with the studio’s master printers to create a series of anniversary prints. Tacita Dean’s Expulsion from Paradise is the fourth and final contribution to the anniversary series, printed by Niels Borch Jensen.

The silhouettes of two bodies in a motion of despair appear in a skyscape on a black, chalk-dusty background. The isolated souls are drawn from an early renaissance fresco by Masaccio, that has lingered in the artist’s mind ever since the first time she discovered it:

I saw Masaccio’s ‘Expulsion from the Garden of Eden’ when I was seventeen. It was to be my first encounter with art discovered originally in a book. I had gone on a pilgrimage to Italy to look for it and even won a small stipend with a friend from the school to travel there but then she was not allowed to board the train at the last minute (as she needed a transit visa to pass through Switzerland) and suddenly I was arriving in Florence alone and terrified. Still, on my first day, I sought out the Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine only to find the Chapel under renovation, full of scaffolding and the fresco obscured. Ducking beneath the blue tarpaulin, I could just about make out the figures of Adam and Eve, hunched over in anguish and shame. I realise, as I write this, they were already decontextualized to my view by the building works: cut out, emblematic and self-contained. I have drawn them often over the years, just their feet at first on my early blackboard drawings and then again recently when I was invited by a German magazine to depict a Briton living in Germany’s view on Brexit. In fact I had always known the fresco to be called ‘Expulsion from Paradise’. So given the turmoil and melancholy of the world and an empty surface on which to work, it is perhaps no surprise that they have appeared again in ever-greater isolation. —Tacita Dean

The delicate intimacy of Expulsion from Paradise materializes the continuous unfolding of time by revealing traces of the artist’s hand: the drawn lines, the erasures, and the handwriting. The iconic figures of Adam and Eve have been influencing Dean’s work ever since the first time she saw Masaccio’s fresco but have not appeared in their entirety up until now. For the anniversary print, Dean initially worked with chalk on blackboard. Subsequently, all traces have been transferred to a photogravure plate. Then, the plate has been inked with a specific cold black, enabling exposure of the highlights while at the same time revealing the subtle layers of the blackboard’s entire surface.

BORCH Editions was founded by Niels Borch Jensen in 1979 and has since established a position as one of the world’s leading printmaking studios and publishers of fine art prints. Master printers Julie Dam and Mette Ulstrup have been with BORCH Editions for more than three decades. Thomas Jennions joined the team in 2015. The printers’ skills and experience have been crucial in establishing sustainable, long term working relationships with internationally renowned artists.

Learn more about Tacita Dean