The Sorcerer's Apprentice, 2008
Tacita Dean (*1965) conceived the multi-colour photogravure Study for Quarantania in conjunction with her largescale print project Quarantania, created specifically for her 2018 exhibition at the Royal Academy in London. The mountainscape depicted in Study for Quarantania is Jebel Quarantul or the Mount of Temptation, the ‘high place’ referenced in the Bible where Jesus was taken by the devil and offered dominion over ‘all the kingdoms of the world’ if he fell down and worshipped Satan. The name is derived from the Latin word for forty, the number of days Christ fasted in the wilderness.
Tacita Dean frequently uses vintage photographs to compose unlikely imaginary landscapes as photo-gravure works. Study for Quarantania shows the Mount of Temptation from a different perspective than the large-scale photogravure it relates to. One of the most striking features of both works is the unusually excessive use of colour, which becomes even more apparent in Study for Quarantania. It emphasizes the remarkable details in the protruding and receding stone formations and adds a psychedelic, almost supernatural glow that seems to emerge from within the mountain.
Due to the à la poupée printing process, every single edition of Study for Quarantania is slightly different.