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Mark Godfrey on the artist as curator

In the book that accompanies “An Aside,” the “exhibition without an idea” that Tacita Dean has curated as part of the Hayward Gallery’s National Touring Exhibitions program, Dean tells a story that explains both the formation of her curatorial strategy and her first choice of a work. Two years ago, watching Lothar Baumgarten’s There I Like It Better Than in Westphalia, El Dorado, 1968–76, she was taken by the way Baumgarten had photographed the slides and recorded the sounds over a considerable period of time without knowing what the final form of the work would be. Dean adopted this model for her show, proceeding with her curatorial choices without a finished selection in mind. The slide piece would be the first work in the exhibition, and as for the next, well, Baumgarten led her to it. He told her that the slides were taken in the forest near Düsseldorf, where one day he came upon a

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