Tacita Dean
The Green Ray
September 30, October 28, November 13, 2020

16mm colour film, mute, 2 1/2 minutes
Courtesy of the artist,
Frith Street Gallery,
London and Marian Goodman Gallery,
New York / Paris
Copyright Tacita Dean


Concerned with celestial bodies and the way they act upon humans, The Green Ray is about a rarely-sighted visual phenomenon – the last, slowest ray of the setting sun, which can be seen as a green line on the horizon under certain conditions. The green ray is viewed as “a harbinger of great change or fortune in their lives,” as Dean narrates for us. A short film about faith, patience, the artist’s belief in celluloid film, and watching vigilantly to glimpse the unseen forces at work in the universe. Eric Rohmer’s 1986 film “Le Rayon Vert” also uses the green ray as a metaphor and plot point, tied in to a woman’s meandering and uncertain quest for romantic connection on her summer holidays. Dean’s film references Rohmer, Fischli & Weiss, Jules Verne’s eponymous novel, and the Romantic phenomena itself.


The Green Ray was screened at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery on September 30, October 28, and November 13, 2020.