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Anne Tallentire
Since the late 1980s Anne Tallentire has produced work in a range of media that includes film, performance and Installation.

She has worked as a solo artist and as one half of the collaborative team work-seth/tallentire. Any assessment of the evolution of her practice over these years must acknowledge the concept of 'translation' as a fundamental and unifying concern.

Translation may be defined as the act of removing something from one context and relocating it in another. It is a process largely designed to transcend difference, but one which nonetheless can often result in highlighting it even further. While the most common context in which translation has currency in contemporary life is interlinguistic, earlier meanings relating to the transfer of persons or property from one location to another are also pertinent to Tallentire's oblique explorations of the complex nexus of labour and language, activity and meaning.

Tallentire was born and reared in County Armagh, but is a long-time resident of London. As a result she is naturally attentive to the sociopolitical significance of borders, and to the symbolic potential inherent in the act of delineating or erasing visual markers of territorial separation.

Much of Tallentire's work in the late 80s and early 90s was born of a fascination with inscription and mark-making, on the one hand, and with the mechanics and metaphoric import of physical displacement, on the other. This is particularly evident in a signal early work, The Gap of Two Birds, a Super-8 film first shown as part of a performance/installation at The Showroom, London, in 1988. The title of this piece is derived from a rough translation of a Gaelic placename.

The installation featured four medium-sized sheets of rectangular glass placed some distance apart on the gallery floor, on each of which was printed one of two words, 'North' or 'South'. The action performed over five hours consisted in laying sheets of white paper over the glass, making various markings on them in charcoal, then distributing these sheets among gallery visitors or hanging them on lead hooks along a gallery wall.

Four grainy black-and-white photographic images were also laid on the glass depicting what the discerning eye might just about recognise as a holiday camp, a church, a mill wheel, and a collection of keys. This imagery was at once sufficiently generic to be vaguely familiar to most metropolitan gallery-goers, and sufficiently specific to invoke the fiercely contested landscape of Tallentire's native Northern Ireland.

Throughout the duration of the performance and subsequent installation a video monitor placed on the floor played a six-minute, black-and-white film, shot by the artist with a hand-held camera, in which she hesitantly negotiated a rough, mountainous landscape. This deliberately degraded film begins with a close-up of an open hand, which then makes several vain attempts to grab water from a pool. The camera proceeds to track the artist's faltering steps as she traces a path through rocky terrain, intermittently offering a view of the middle distance in which mountain peaks recede into the mist.

The film ends with a tantalizingly brief close-up of the artist's face as she quickly turns her head toward the viewer, whose gaze glances off the forehead and right eye of a face lightly whipped by wind-blown wisps of hair. This posed but elusive romantic heroine remains as unknowable as the shrouded landscape. Person and place alike evade the capture of a totalizing vision, with its attendant implications of conquest and colonization. As so often in Tallentire's work, the viewer is left with a memory of glimpses and gaps, of dispersed fragments and unsteady transitions.

Still from The Gap of Two Birds by Anne Tallentire, 1989
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