Craneway Event

Tacita Dean

Canterbury, England, 1965
  • Date: 
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  • Media description: 
    16 mm film
  • Duration: 
    108 min.
  • Colour: 
  • Sound: 
    Optical sound
  • Category: 
    Installation, Film, Modern dance
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Craneway Event is the second collaboration between Tacita Dean and choreographer Merce Cunningham, and was Cunningham’s final collaboration before his death. Dean chose to film a rehearsal by the dance company rather than an actual performance as an attempt to separate the music from the dancers’ movements, a differentiation crucial to an understanding of Cunningham’s work. According to the artist, the idea of filming a rehearsal would also enable her to focus on him much more closely, to capture him in a more real context, without the artifice of stage lighting, along the lines of other filmed portraits of artists such as the one she made some years before with Mario Merz. The work was done at the Ford plant in Richmond, California, a huge space designed by the German architect Albert Khan in the 1930s, overlooking the San Francisco Bay. The building is glass on three sides, meaning that people inside can see everything going on around it. The flights of pelicans, the boats in the bay, the way the light changes at different times of the day and so on, all play a crucial role in the film, because they seem to actually join in and become part of the choreography itself. So the piece gives centre stage to sudden moments of chance, a crucial element in the works of both artists

Lola Hinojosa