This politicisation of culture in Berlin's mid-20th century history is an undercurrent of Dean's newest Berlin work "Die Regimentstochter, 2005", based on opera and theatre programmes of the 1930s and 1940s. Like a treasure trove, the pile of programmes she found (a Donizetti opera gives its name to the title of the work) is a cross-section of Berlin's rich offering of opera houses and theatres. Each programme gives a tantalising glimpse of a title or a face through a small window cut into the embossed cover; we recognise Beethoven, Rossini, the face of a singer perhaps. When and by whom this incision in the cover was made, very neatly one might add, even more why these disfigured programmes were kept remains a mystery. A swift search in an archive would easily show what has been removed; most likely an embossed swastika, for these performances all happened during the Third Reich. Why they were removed is left to our imaginations; perhaps an avid theatre-goer livid at the co-option of culture by the regime, perhaps someone afraid they might be misinterpreted as fascist memorabilia, while wishing to retain the memories these performances triggered.
"Die Regimentstochter" is the next in a series of projects that the artist Tacita Dean has made using material found in the flea markets of Berlin. Following on from her 2001 book "FLOH", "Die Regimentstochter" is a series of 36 opera programmes that have been defaced by their owner to become inadvertent collages which reveal themselves through the course of the book, and like "FLOH", remain unexplained by description or text.
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(240mm x 170mm x 4mm)
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Author Biography - Tacita Dean
Dean works in many media, including 16mm film, photography, sound, text and the artist's book, which she sees as works in the form of a book. Die Regimentstochter is being published to coincide with her solo show in Tate St Ives, England, from 8 October, 2005 to 15 January, 2006 which concentrates on her works that have Berlin as their subject matter. Born in Canterbury, England in 1965, Tacita Dean now lives and works in Berlin. Upcoming solo exhibitions include the Cork 2005 Festival and Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Arkitektur og Design in Oslo, 2006.