The act of improvisation in the work of Tacita Dean

SNEDDON, Andrew (2012). The act of improvisation in the work of Tacita Dean. Critical Studies in Improvisation/ Etudes critiques en improvisation, 8 (2).

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The paper sets out to explore the practice of Tacita Dean and in particular the exhibition project, 'An Aside', 2005 in order to fully examine the notion of improvisation within visual art practice. Through this exhibition, Dean draws together a number of other artists that at first seem unrelated and made up of diverse objects in a deceptively provocative exhibition.

By conducting a critical analysis of Dean's practice and considering her welcoming of chance, contingency and chaos, the paper will develop a new understanding and awareness of how sagacity (defined here as sage-like or to have the wisdom to recognise something complex) and improvisation co-habit the creative process. By considering Dean's breadth of practice as a case study, we are provided with a number of projects that have initially 'failed' presenting the artist with an opportunity to improvise.

Between the conference paper and the journal article I develop tripartite structure, a triangulation between failure, sagacity and serendipity within experimental visual arts that necessitates an improvisatory response. I focus on a particular journey that an artist might make from intention to realisation where the breaks between what is imaginable and what is realisable constitute creative opportunities. However painful it may be not to realise/to be able to realise an intention, the improvising artist seizes these moments to make real what could not have been imagined or anticipated. Improvisation in the sense of ‘make shift’ or ‘making do’ is also a ‘making sense of’

By bringing together 'Prisoner Pairs' 2008, 'Banewl' 1999, 'Diamond Ring' 2001 and 'Presentation Sisters' 2005 Dean demonstrate(s) the creative impulse and ability to respond to serendipitous discoveries and to allow the unimaginable.

Serendipity also appears to have a bearing on the artist's ability to improvise. As Dean has said "uninvited disappointments which are unbelievably painful at the time become productive in hindsight." Finally, the paper will consider the relationship between sagacity, improvisation, serendipity and the temporal, which is also a component within the case studies.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Failure, Serendipity & Sagacity, Contingency, Improvisation, Tripartite Structure, Tacita Dean, An Aside, Contemporary Art.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Depositing User: Andrew Sneddon
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2012 09:13
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 23:01

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