This site documents Mark Dean’s work as an artist. After studying photography and painting in the 1970’s, and playing in bands in the 1980’s, he began working with appropriated film and music in 1992. His first solo show was at City Racing in 1996, where he introduced his characteristic looped video and sound installations, based on fragments of cultural material taken as objets trouvés, reprocessed to generate new material. Since then Dean has regularly exhibited in major institutions in the UK and internationally; recent group exhibitions include After/Hours/Drop/Box, Modern Art Oxford, and Nothing Compares 2 U, SIC Helsinki; recent solo shows include Christian Disco, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam. His work is held in museum collections including Leeds Art Gallery, MUDAM Luxembourg, and the Saastamoinen Foundation, Finland. Public commissions include works for the Barbican, ICA, and Imperial War Museum. From 2009-12 Dean was the recipient of a Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists. His work is reviewed in contemporary art journals, and acknowledged in historical surveys:
‘In the 1990’s, the film archive (or, by this time, the video store) also proved a fertile feeding ground for the yBa generation, especially Douglas Gordon (b. 1966) and Mark Dean (b. 1958) … By contrast, Mark Dean’s appropriations from Hollywood are more like votive offerings; tiny scraps of footage – a gesture by Judy Garland, a look by Brando – isolated and looped to drain them of any hint of narrative (other than the broad narrative of celebrity), so we can adore and worship.’ – David Curtis, A History of Artists’ Film and Video in Britain, 1897-2004 (British Film Institute)
This ‘religious’ implication in Dean’s work has become more explicit since he was ordained as an Anglican priest in 2011. However, as an artist he does not seek to make images of God but rather the representation of personhood; that is, the experience of being a person in a world where there is a God. This world is not easy, and there are experiences of trauma and isolation; but God (and thus the created world) is good, and so there is beauty and the hope of redemption. Having said this, Dean recognises that there is no easy translation between the languages of contemporary art and religion. Taking the cultural construction of subjectivity as a given, he is interested in what might remain beyond this understanding; this is the context in which he makes use of appropriation techniques:
‘… works by Mark Dean have managed to open out towards strong emotions while retaining the distinctive constructedness of visual art. The strong content lives and is transformed rather than functioning as reference pure and simple… It is important to stress this crafted opening to cathartic possibility and to the unconscious, because Dean has found means here that are primary, not borrowed from the films or music that are his materials.’ – Ian Hunt, Art Monthly
Please use the menus below to access further information and documentation of Mark Dean’s exhibited works. An illustrated index is available here.