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Tacita Dean: Crackers

[ Exhibition )

Still image from a film showing a rectangle on left with a sunset over the sea and water below and to right a lighthouse seen from the sea

This exhibition delved further into John Craxton’s life and experiences of the Mediterranean with Crackers (2023), a new film by Tacita Dean (b.1965).

Made to coincide with the ‘John Craxton: A Modern Odyssey’ exhibition which celebrated the Modern British artist, this brand new film created in Crete was made as an elegy to Craxton and the places he knew and loved.

The film’s title, Crackers – the nickname given to Craxton by friends – encapsulates both the spirit of how the film was made and something of the artist himself. Tacita Dean first met Craxton when she was 16 on holiday with her family, staying opposite Craxton’s house in Chania, Crete. This first encounter with a ‘real artist’ would prove life-changing for her.

The 16mm colour film takes the form of a diptych, featuring scenes and sounds found in and around his house in Crete. These include Craxton’s favourite subjects – the White Mountains, dizzying gorges, city cats and intrepid goats.

Dean first came to prominence in the 1990s and is one of the most influential artists working today. Her practice encompasses many mediums, but she works primarily in film.

An interview with Tacita Dean by art writer, curator and John Craxton’s biographer, Ian Collins, is featured in the catalogue, John Craxton: A Modern Odyssey, distributed by Yale University Press in the UK and USA.

Photograph of a person from neck to waist holding out a wooden object with both hands

Support our work with a limited edition Tacita Dean print

Discover ‘Slow Food’, Tacita Dean’s unique hand-printed photochemical photograph – a playful homage to John Craxton.

Limited edition prints available now with your purchase supporting our exhibitions, art collection care, and educational programs.

Find out more

Tacita Dean

Artist Tacita Dean (b. 1965, Canterbury) divides her time between Berlin and Los Angeles.

Recent exhibitions include Geography Biography, 2023 for the Pinault Collection at the Bourse de Commerce in Paris where she made a rotating portrait-format 35mm film diptych for the central rotunda alongside a series of other wall-based works.

In 2018, Dean’s work was the subject of concurrent exhibitions across three London museums: LANDSCAPE at the Royal Academy, which featured one of the artist’s monumental blackboard drawings as well as the 35mm film diptych Antigone; PORTRAIT at the National Portrait Gallery included her 16mm films of David Hockney and Cy Twombly amongst others; and a curated exhibition, STILL LIFE at the National Gallery.

Other significant recent solo exhibitions have included MUDAM, Luxembourg, Kunstmuseum Basel, 2021 and EMMA, Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland, 2020. Later this year, Dean will have a survey show in MCA in Sydney and in 2024, a major exhibition of her drawings in The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas.

In 2020, Dean was commissioned to create the set design and costumes for a new ballet, The Dante Project,  with Royal Ballet choreographer Wayne McGregor and composer Thomas Adès. The ballet premiered in autumn 2021 at the Royal Opera House, London and has since toured to Paris Opera. The production will travel to the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen and returns to the ROH in November 2023.

Dean has campaigned hard to keep photochemical film and photography available for younger generations of artists and filmmakers.

Photograph portrait of Tacita Dean. She is shown from shoulders up wearing a white shirt with her head resting on her left hand. She is smiling and has dark wavy hair.