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Frith Street Gallery presents TACITA DEAN | JOHN CAGE

Archive | Information & News

16 Sept 2016 to 4 Nov 2016
Tues - Fri 10 - 6pm, Sat 11 - 5pm
Frith Street Gallery
17-18 Golden Square, W1F 9JJ
60 Frith Street, W1D 3JJ
United Kingdom
T: +44 (0) 20 7494 1550
F: +44 (0) 20 7287 3733

Tacita Dean,Portraits, 2016
16 mm colour film, optical sound. 16 mins
Location photograph: Mathew Hale

Artists in this exhibition: Tacita Dean, John Cage

LA Exuberance

Frith Street Gallery, Golden Square
PV: Thursday 15 September, 6-8pm
16 September - 4 November 2016

Start times for Event for a Stage:
6:15pm, 7:15pm 

Frith Street Gallery is delighted to present LA Exuberance, a collection of new works related to Tacita Dean’s time spent in Los Angeles, which is being shown alongside her recent, highly-acclaimed 2015 film Event for a Stage.

LA Exuberance is the title Dean gave to a new set of lithographs she made with print publishers Gemini G.E.L. Exhilarated by being in California (and excited to be working with such an institution as Gemini), Dean set about trying to use an unfamiliar medium, colour lithography, to depict the clouds and vapour trails she found striking in Los Angeles, where she’d been invited as artist in residence at the Getty Research Institute 2014-15. The resulting prints are drawn and not photographic, and their apparent simplicity beguiles their labour.

Dean also began working on a series of slate drawings. Offered several original Victorian-era school slates, she was attracted to their patina and scuffed beauty, and began using spray chalk, gouache and white charcoal pencil to work on a series of clouds in conjunction with LA Exuberance. The slate titles are taken from A Complete Concordance to Shakespeare. She has also begun adding grids and lines to give formal structure to the amorphous nature of a cloud, but also in reference to the didactic nature of the slates and the idea of categorisation.

Also in Los Angeles, Dean had the opportunity to meet the artist David Hockney and asked if she could film him smoking. Smoking is instinct to David and is embedded in his process – to remove it would be to impair the long-achieved and finely balanced quality of his concentration. On show downstairs, the resulting 16mm film, Portraits is not one but five cigarettes and is compounded in its multiple portrait-ness not only by the paintings that surrounded Hockney in his studio as she filmed but by the one of her son Rufus that was still hanging on the wall behind.

Tacita Dean’s 2015 film Event for a Stage will be screened upstairs throughout the exhibition. Originally commissioned as a live performance on four consecutive nights at Carriageworks as part of the 2014 Sydney Biennial, it became Dean’s first foray into theatre and her first experience of working with an actor. What resulted was a fierce interplay between the artist and the actor Stephen Dillane as they struggled to understand and accommodate each other’s disciplines. Dean filmed each of the four nights as part of the performance with the intention of making the film. But as Blake Gopnik wrote in The Daily Pic: “But if that premise is easily grasped, the work’s actual content, and Dean’s treatment of it – both as it played out on the stage and then in her miraculous editing of the footage – are complex beyond belief… Let’s just say that the slippages between reality and fiction that all drama is built around are perfectly distilled into the 50 minutes of Dean’s film.”

Event for a Stage lasts 50 minutes and will be shown at the following screening times. However, because of the film’s complex and emotional trajectory, it is recommended to watch it from the start.

Tuesday to Friday: 11.00am, 12.15pm, 1.30pm, 2.45pm, 4.00pm, 5.15pm.
Saturdays: 11.00am, 12.15pm, 1.30pm, 2.45pm, 4.00pm

Tacita Dean was born in Canterbury in 1965. She has been the recipient of various awards including the Kurt Schwitters Prize in 2009, and the Hugo Boss Prize in 2006. In 2014 she became artist in residence at the Getty Research Institute. Recent exhibitions include JG, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, Utah (2014), Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and Arcadia University Art Gallery, Pennsylvania (2013), Tacita Dean: The Measure of Things, Instituto Moreira Salles, Rio de Janeiro; Tacita Dean, De Mar en Mar, Botin Foundation, Santander, Spain; Tacita Dean: The Studio of Giorgio Morandi, Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna (all 2013). In November 2016 she will have a major solo exhibition at Museo Tamayo in Mexico City. The complete series of Hockney’s portraits: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life are on show at the Royal Academy of Arts, London until 2 October 2016.

Lecture on the Weather (1975)

Frith Street Gallery, Soho Square
PV: Thursday 15 September, 6-8pm16 September - 17 December 2016
Start times for Lecture on the Weather:
6:10pm, 7:10pm

‘I dedicate this work to the U.S.A., that it become just another part of the world, no more, no less.’
— John Cage, Prelude, Lecture on the Weather (1975)

In the lead-up to America’s presidential election, Frith Street Gallery and the John Cage Trust join to present a unique iteration of a still prescient work by the seminal American composer, artist, and writer, John Cage. Lecture on the Weather (1975) was originally conceived as a work for either radio or the stage, as a commission from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to mark the Bicentennial of the USA. It will be presented at Frith Street Gallery in a new installation based on materials captured at an important 2007 performance at Bard College in upstate New York, featuring an extraordinary cast, including Merce Cunningham, Jasper Johns, Leon Botstein, John Ralston Saul, and others. Theirs was a tour de force realization of a masterpiece, now presented for the first time in Europe.

John Cage was devoted to Henry David Thoreau, and, like Ralph Waldo Emerson, believed there to be ‘no truer American.’ For Lecture on the Weather, Cage drew excerpts from Thoreau’s classic texts, which he then cast into a score using I Ching-derived chance operations; additionally, each score was intermittently graced with chance-determined fragments of Thoreau’s nature drawings, which were to be interpreted as music, in the manner of graphic notation. At the start, Cage delivers a softly polemic prelude, and when the readings and musical realizations commence, so also begins a slowly escalating weather soundscape created by Maryanne Amacher. The work culminates with a film by Luis Frangella: Thoreau’s elemental nature drawings, now stark white on black, simulating flashes of lightning on a dark and stormy night. All of the elements — speech, music, film, lighting, and weather — combine to create a stunningly sensorial experience.

Complementing the installation will be a number of Cage’s early prints that also take inspiration from Thoreau. These include works from the series 17 Drawings by Thoreau (1978), Score Without Parts (40 Drawings by Thoreau) (1978), Signals (1978), Changes & Disappearances (1979-82), and Dereau (1982).

This exhibition is curated by the artist Jeremy Millar, who conceived the exhibition Every Day is a Good Day – The Visual Art of John Cage for Hayward Touring (2010-11).

John Cage (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer, philosopher, writer, and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham. His most enduring composition is the radically tacet 4’33” (1952), a work in three movements during which no sounds are intentionally produced.

With thanks to the John Cage Trust and Margarete Roeder Gallery, New York

The duration of Lecture on the Weather is 50 minutes and starts at 10:10am Wednesday-Friday, continuing throughout the day beginning at 10 minutes past the hour, with last viewing at 5:10pm. Please note on Saturday the first viewing is at 11:10am.

This installation contains flashing images.

For images and further information please contact

Frith Street Gallery

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