Geography Biography: Tacita Dean

  • Year: 2023
  • Location: Paris
  • Produced by:: SARL JIPANCO

Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection, Paris

The rotunda of the Bourse de Commerce, an evolving historical commodities exchange, began in the 18th century, is the central exhibition space for this renowned arts collection. It is large open space characterized by its steel domed roof bringing daylight into the space, panoramic historical murals, and numerous upper galleries. A contemporary renovation by Tadao Ando in 2021 includes a nine-meter-tall, open-air, concrete cylinder placed symmetrically within the rotunda with upper gallery. 

Sam Chermayeff Office and Frank Barkow (Barkow Leibinger) have designed and built a second temporary and enclosed cylinder (5.1 meters high) placed off-center in the rotunda as a theater for British artist Tacita Dean for showing two analogue films within the space complementing her larger exhibition at the Pinault.  Site specific while responding to the circular rotunda, the two films are projected from a central turntable carrying two mechanical projectors which slowly rotate around the circular theater projecting onto the exterior walls of the space. Two lower (3.5 meter) apertures are attached to the exterior of the theater which serve as light-locks for visitors to enter and exit the space and to allow for their eyes to adjust to the darkness.

The theater is constructed economically and quickly with lightweight metal trusses clad in simple painted fabric sheathing painted in two shades of gray. As a contextual orientation to the domed (convex) rotunda the roof of the theater is a catenary (concave) structure of suspended opaque fabric which from the interior gently presses down into the theater space. The theater is dynamic. Visitors can enter the space and move around at will or sit to watch or move with the projected films.