In Pictures: Falmouth Art Gallery buys £40,000 Tacita Dean stones for Masters of Photography

By Ben Miller Published: 26 January 2011

There is an immaculate sense of timing to Falmouth Art Gallery finally securing a set of works by Tacita Dean.

The sculptor, who graduated in 1988 from the town’s university in its previous incarnation as the Falmouth School of Art, was announced as the 12th artist to produce a commission for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern shortly after the gallery bought her stones.

Sadly, Brian Stewart, the Director who worked fervently to bring her works to the site, died just two days after the acquisition was made. Stewart learnt of the £40,000 purchase during a telephone call from his hospital bed.

“It is a fitting testimony to Brian Stewart’s dedication and enthusiasm,” says Stephen Deuchar, the Director of co-benefactors the Art Fund.

“It’s wonderful that the gallery now permanently holds works by one of Falmouth’s most ingenious and creative graduates, and we’re sure that these beautiful, tranquil images will inspire visitors for years to come.”

Dean has frequently stressed the influence the county has had on her prodigious career. “I first encountered dolmens and standing stones in Cornwall,” she says.

“Of course there are very many connective threads between the Cornish standing stones and those in Europe. For me they are very associated to the pre-history of that landscape. I was reminded of them again looking at Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings in the Getty and one Easter sought out the Island of Rugen where he painted.

“As I was making a show about the subject of Germany, I went and photographed various stones the following summer in the North West of Germany. I only made three floating dolmen, of which these are the only small studies.”

It is also the first time they have been shown in the UK, having previously appeared in Melbourne in 2009. They will join exalted company in Masters of Photography, a mixed media show of contemporary photography and painting which also includes work by Man Ray, Lee Miller and Linda McCartney.
  • Masters of Photography runs February 12 – April 2 2011. Tacita Dean’s Turbine Hall commission will be revealed on October 11.
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