This cliff in Chalk Fall 2018 (illustrated) seems solid, like the massive wall of a fortress, however on closer inspection, we see the rough waves churning beneath, and realise the cliff-face is giving way, falling into the ocean. Tacita Dean’s monumental chalkboard drawing evokes the famous White Cliffs of Dover which are eroding evermore swiftly as a result of climate change.
Detail of ‘Chalk Fall’
As Dean began to create Chalk Fall, a close friend was diagnosed with a tumour. ‘Every day’, she recounts, ‘I wrote the date on the board, chalking chalk with chalk in a sedimentation of time and emotion that had a terrible constructive intensity.’ We can also make out chalked notes such as ‘aerial view’ and ‘fade to black’ that are anchored in Dean’s practice as a filmmaker. Chalk Fall is at once a drawing, a journal, a history painting and the record of a deep friendship maintained across an ocean.
Tacita Dean ‘Chalk Fall’
Installing the 9 panels at GOMA
Watch: Tacita Dean introduces ‘Chalk Fall’