In Purgatory (Threshold), Dean has isolated from its background a large-scale photograph of a jacaranda tree with white pencil. Dean is familiar with the tree and its luscious, trumpet-shaped purple flowers because of her time spent in LA. The notion of Purgatory as a site of transition motivated Dean to find an image on the borderline between negative and positive. Having taken Purgatory (Threshold) with an 8 × 10 large-format camera, Dean produced the negative as a positive, turning the purple blossoms into an otherworldly green. The disturbing appearance of this dystopian “tree of life” is reinforced by the white veil that covers the surrounding architecture. This was reproduced as a freestanding object onstage for Act II.
Tacita Dean (b. 1965, Canterbury, Great Britain) has been working since the early 1990s with many mediums including analog film, drawing, graphic art, photography, and sound. A restless curiosity underlies her entire oeuvre, which invites viewers to explore their own perceptions as well as the narrative potential of her medium. The artist lives and works in Berlin and Los Angeles.
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