Tacita Dean, Teignmouth Electron, Cayman Brac, 1999, color photograph, 26 3/4 x 27 1/8".

Tacita Dean

Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

MUSEUM TECHNICAL STAFF REPAIRING ONE OF NINE 16-mm PROJECTORS . . . Two visits, a short time apart, to the MACBA survey of Tacita Dean’s work give the impression that this conceit might in fact be part of the show. The gimpy, not exactly factory-new equipment the artist uses for her film installations does in fact require extensive care and maintenance. Defects come with the territory. The technological prerequisites of this art are characterized by a moment of decay, a sliding toward obsolescence.

One need not worry about the work’s institutional stability, however. What other artist in her mid-thirties can point to two near-simultaneous surveys at significant European venues (the second show was held at Tate Britain), featuring “central” work from 1995–2001? While neither constituted a complete retrospective, each show had its high points. Although the forty-four-minute film Fernsehturm,

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