Dr. Shekhar Deshpande, Professor and Chair of Media and Communication, recently posted a reflection on Arcadia University Art Gallery’s current exhibition, JG: a film project by Tacita Dean. Having briefly spoken with the artist before her the film’s debut and lecture on Feb. 7, Deshpande provides some context to the work.
It is essential to keep in mind that JG is a film; it isn’t video. The very experience of watching a 35mm film projected on screen in our Art Gallery is a rare one. You are not likely to go through it again, not in most theaters and certainly not at home. Each frame on that film was exposed to light, processed in the lab and edited by Dean with an eye of the artist, as a poet who sees images for their depth and their capabilities. If we are used to watching images because they refer to reality of some sorts-places, people, objects, etc.,-Dean’s film is about the image itself. It speaks to the incredible ability of the photochemical film which imprints the grain, the textures and the shapes of objects so light passes through them onto the screen. Each image contains a residue of the event, the moment when the image was recorded and holds it for us to see. On some images of JG, on sprocket-hole masks surrounding them, you see three frames. Each frame records a moment different from the next, creating a tapestry of moments. Each moment competes with the other; each records a different time and asks us to see the juxtaposition as some sort of philosophical puzzle.