The Tail End of Film


Photograph and type on paper

123 x 159 cm (48 7/16 x 62 5/8 in.)

The object is hardly recognisable under the thick layer of heavy crystals that cover it. Metamorphosed into a dazzling fossil, the 35 mm film reel photographed by Tacita Dean is static and unusable, quickly made obsolete and thus turned into an artefact of the past. It becomes an allegory of time and memory, a recurrent theme in Dean’s works.

Both photographs, The Tail End of Film and The Book End of Time, present each an object placed by Dean in the Utah desert for six weeks, hence covered with salt crystals. Both echo her film JG, inspired by her correspondence with J.G. Ballard and the connections between his novel and Robert Smithson’s iconic work Land Art Spiral Jetty.

Tacita Dean’s photograph The Book End of Time is part of the Pinault Collection. It was first shown at the 2016 “Accrochage” ("Hanging") exhibition at the Punta della Dogana.