Tacita Dean, Aerial View of Teignmouth Electron


Tacita Dean (British, born 1965)

Aerial View of Teignmouth Electron, Cayman Brac 16th of September 1998, 2000

Medium: Gelatin silver print on paper

Dimensions: 21 x 26 cm (8 1/4 x 10 1/4 in)

Edition of 100: Hand signed, numbered and dated

Condition: Mint (sold unframed)

In stock

Aerial View of Teignmouth Electron, Cayman Brac 16th of September 1998 features the decaying husk of a beached trimaran which was abandoned many years before by its owner and which has succumbed to the elements and rotted over time. The black and white photograph was taken from an aeroplane flying over the south side of the Caribbean island, Cayman Brac, where the Teignmouth Electron is slowly disintegrating. The vertiginous aerial view reconfigures the landscape. A long sliver of pale sand forms a dividing line between land and sea like a misplaced horizon, the foam of crashing waves mimicking clouds. The derelict trimaran appears small and vulnerable, as if cowed by the vast expanse of sea whose magnitude and power is emphasized by the bird’s eye view.

This photograph is one of a number of works by Dean inspired by the tragic story of Donald Crowhurst’s doomed attempt to circumnavigate the world in his boat, Teignmouth Electron, named after the town in Devon that funded its construction and from where he set sail. In 1968, Crowhurst entered The Sunday Times Golden Globe competition to be the first to sail solo and non-stop around the world. Having embarked on his journey in an untested and ill-prepared trimaran, with no sailing experience, Crowhurst radioed in his coordinates which suggested that he was in the lead. After some time, however, all radio contact ceased. Eight months after the race began, Crowhurst’s boat was found abandoned a few hundred miles off the coast of England. Subsequent investigation revealed that Crowhurst had never left the Atlantic and had, in fact, falsified his coordinates.

– Helen Delaney, Tate Britain, February 2002

Tacita Dean is an acclaimed British artist, known for her conceptual films, photographs and drawings. Her art explores themes relating to chance, memory and the passage of time, often featuring nautical imagery and derelict spaces. Recording the effects of time, Dean frequently focusses on human traces left in nature. Her films reveal great attention to detail, often employing long takes and static camera shots. Both celebrating the beauty of analogue filmmaking and mourning its demise, Tacita Dean continually highlights the qualities of 16 mm film. She stated that “Digital is so known, and film is all about the unknown”. The visual artist was a nominee for the Turner Prize in 1998, won the Hugo Boss Prize in 2006 and the Kurt Schwitters Prize in 2009, and was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 2008. Dean has been the subject of solo exhibitions at major institutions including Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria; The Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico; Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark; New Museum, New York, United Sates; Tate Modern, London, UK; and the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria. Tacita Dean was born in 1965 in Canterbury, UK. She lives and works in Berlin, Germany, and Los Angeles, California.

Tacita Dean, Aerial View of Teignmouth Electron

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