At the Bourse de commerce, Tacita Dean explores a geographical poetics

All her life she chased eclipses. From Cornwall to Wyoming, Tacita Dean never feared having to travel the world to see the sun go out for a moment, radiate in the shadow of the moon and slowly return to its absolute light. The British artist filmed some of them, making a work. She dreamed of it a lot. It is not surprising that this spring it causes an eclipse to appear in the rotunda of the Bourse de Commerce in Paris.

“It’s no secret, I’m very cosmological, sun, moon”, is content to enlighten the British artist when we meet her, on the eve of her opening. Under the glass roof, which draws the gaze towards the zenith, she had a gray, round passenger compartment built, redundant with the concrete structure placed there by the architect Tadao Andō. Seen from above, it is like a star. “I really like to observe his transformations under the light, he goes from marble to alabaster. »

In this cosmic cylinder, the visitor enters in a spiral. And there again, in the darkness, a revolution awaits, from that which animates the stars: two ancestral projectors turn on themselves, delivering eighteen minutes of an unequaled film. “In this circular space, I didn’t want to do something frontal, she explains. Of course, this also has a link with the films on lighthouses that I have made. »

Irradiation power

A flagship cinema, whose images are constantly moving, which we must pursue every second, in a slow hand-to-hand combat with the image. The most beautiful of images: film, in 35 mm. Unparalleled irradiation power in today’s 100% digital universe. From the survival of this threatened medium (she refuses to reduce it to a technique), Tacita Dean has made the fight of her life.

She went to Unesco to plead her case, trying to have it included on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. In vain. She joined forces with director Christopher Nolan, another film lover deemed obsolete by so many others, to defend it, from Hollywood to Mumbai. Above all, in each of her films, she explored its essence. Now, at last, after years of near despair, she thinks the battle is won. “I have the impression that the message has passed and I am much less worried than ten years ago. Kodak is doing better, many films are shot on film and the cinema industry has understood, after having massively and very cynically invested so much energy in destroying film. »

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