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 80’s, Dean began working with appropriated film and music in the early 90’s, taking fragments of cultural material as objets trouvés, and reprocessing them to generate new material. His early video and sound work was exhibited in London at City Racing in 1992, toured the UK in New Contemporaries ’93, and was shown worldwide in Black Box Recorder, a definitive British Council survey of 90’s UK video art, opening at Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and touring through Europe, Asia and South America. Since then Dean’s work has been exhibited in many contemporary art institutions in London (including Barbican, ICA, South London Gallery, Tate) the UK & Ireland (including Chapter, Cardiff; Ikon, Birmingham; Royal Gallery, Edinburgh; Temple Bar, Dublin) and internationally (including CIC, Geneva; De Pont Foundation, Tilburg; Palais Thurn & Taxis, Bregenz; SIC, Helsinki). His most recent solo show was Christian Disco at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam in 2014. His work is held in public and museum collections including Arts Council England, Leeds Art Gallery, MUDAM Luxembourg, and the Saastamoinen Foundation, with commissions including works for Barbican International, ICA (Cap Gemini), and Imperial War Museum. From 2009-12 Dean was the recipient of a Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists. His work has been reviewed in contemporary art journals including Art Forum, Art Monthly, Frieze, and Tate Papers, 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)
The ‘religious’ aspect of Dean’s work took on new significance when he became an Anglican priest (ordained 2010). 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
Video and audio on this site is for demonstration purposes only, to document works of art exhibited elsewhere.
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