Tacita Dean

Quarantania, 2018

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7 panels

Tacita Dean created the large-scale colour photogravure Quarantania specifically for her 2018 exhibition Tacita Dean: LANDSCAPE, PORTRAT, STILL LIFE, an unprecedented collaboration between the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and Royal Academy of Arts in London.

The mountain depicted in the desert landscape in Quarantania is Jebel Quarantul or the Mount of Temptation, the ‘high place’ referenced in the Bible where Jesus was taken by the devil and offered dominion over ‘all the kingdoms of the world’ if he fell down and worshipped Satan. The name is derived from the Latin word for forty; the number of days Christ fasted in the wilderness.

Tacita Dean frequently uses found images to compose unlikely imaginary landscapes as large-scale photogravure works. The images are overlaid with fragments of handwritten text that provide narrative possibilities while at the same time including overwritten or erased words that resist any attempt to decipher them. Dean found the 1870’s albumen print of Mount Quarantania over a decade ago and was immediately attracted by the strange beauty of the mountain as well as the striking clarity and detail of the early print, photographed just prior to the construction of the nineteenth century Greek Orthodox monastery now perched on the rock face. Using the image in combination with other found albumens and a more radical use of colour, she chose to create an hallucinogenic scape as pathetic fallacy for Christ’s state of mind after forty days without food, summoning up a fata morgana as contemporary metaphor for the delusion of dominion and power in an age of political temptation and the dissolution of all norms of restraint.

Print technique
Photogravure on Somerset White Satin 300g
Edition
Edition of 12
Printer
Printed by Julie Dam, Mette Ulstrup, Thomas Jennions
Publisher
Published by BORCH Editions
Signed by:
Signed and numbered by the artist
Registration no
ID: TaD 18 001-1

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