Tacita Dean: Blind Folly is the first major museum survey in the United States of work by the British European visual artist Tacita Dean (b. 1965). The exhibition, organized in close collaboration with Dean, spotlights her career-defining approach to creating art through unmediated and chance-based drawing processes across a variety of mediums, from film to printmaking.
The show’s title reflects Dean’s desire to let the behavior of her mediums dictate the results of her work. For the artist, the playful British phrase connoting foolishness, “blind folly,” represents her trust in the role chance and fate play in the creative act. She has said that her process is about “how to find by not looking.”
Tacita Dean: Blind Folly will include Dean’s monumental blackboard drawings about the fragility of nature, her large-scale “portraits” of trees, drawings of lightning made with carbon paper, cloud formations on Victorian-era slates, and groups of rarely shown drawings from her studio on paper, found postcards, and albumen photographs. A separate gallery presents a rotating group of her 16mm films, showcasing how she conceives the analogue medium as “drawing with light.” Together, the selection spans Dean’s more than three-decade-long career.
On the occasion of the exhibition, the museum will publish an artist’s book by Dean, created in residency at the Menil’s Cy Twombly Gallery. A response to her experience in the company of Twombly’s paintings, the publication will draw out the influence of Dean’s close relationship to the late American artist, who shared her admiration of the classical world.
Tacita Dean: Blind Folly is curated by Michelle White, Senior Curator, The Menil Collection.