When first I raised the Tempest, 2016

Basel 2017
Frith Street Gallery, Marian Goodman Gallery
8 panels, chalk on blackboard
Tacita Dean is best known for her compelling analogue film works but drawing is still central to her practice. Dean’s blackboard pieces evoke the aesthetic of black-and-white cinema and draw on associations between the language of the storyboard and a more traditional approach to drawing itself. Her largest drawing to date, When first I raised the Tempest was first shown in the exhibition ‘Tempest’ at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart. Here, using the simplest of means, Dean creates an ominous image of a seemingly gigantic storm, with seething clouds, riven by bolts of lightening, parting to reveal an unearthly brightness. Dean’s earlier works often feature the sea and ships, but having spent the last few years living in Los Angeles, she has returned to making these physically demanding blackboard pieces inspired by the city’s cloudscapes. As she explains: ‘Driving down Sunset Boulevard early on in my stay, I was confronted by a voluminous atomic cloud blooming at the end of the road in front of me, back-dropped by a deep blue sky. This inspired me to take up chalk on blackboard once again: I have since become a cloud watcher.’ – Tacita Dean