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The Dying of the Light Film as Medium and Metaphor

  • Exhibition

  • March 26, 2014 - February 17, 2015
  • Galleries

With the rapid disappearance of photochemical film, many visual artists stand out among the group of dedicated filmmakers who choose to use light-sensitive film rather than digital formats. Museums and galleries thus become a critical part of efforts to preserve a technology and discipline that is beginning to fade.


The Dying of the Light: Film as Medium and Metaphor featured the work of 6 artists—Rosa Barba, Matthew Buckingham, Tacita Dean, Rodney Graham, Lisa Oppenheim, and Simon Starling—who capitalize on film’s particular visual, material, aural, and even metaphoric characteristics.

Film’s associations with light, motion, perception, time—and now obsolescence—are among the themes evident in the MASS MoCA exhibition, as is the history of film and its close relationship to the technological advances of the last century and a half. A mix of atmospheric, documentary, and sculptural works, the ensemble of works in the exhibition speak to the past and the future, vision, technology, beauty, faith, and even death.

Tacita Dean, The Green Ray, 2001, 16mm color film, 2 minutes 30 seconds, looped
Courtesy of the artist, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York / Paris; and Frith Street Gallery, London