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Mark Dion: Archaeology

Black Dog Press

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Softcover | 19.69 x 0.95 x 26.04 cm | 122 pp

Black Dog Publishing | 2000 | 9781901033915

This volume presents Mark Dion's digs in Italy, Switzerland, and London including the Tate Thames Dig. The book provides a preface to each of these projects by the artist, and showcases much of his previously unpublished work.

During the summer of 1999, U.S. artist Mark Dion and a team of volunteers drawn from local groups combed the foreshore of the Thames at low tide along two stretches of beach at Millbank and Bankside, near the Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain) and Bankside Power Station, which would become Tate Modern the following year. As with Yard of Jungle 1992 (Museo Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro), where he literally removed and examined a yard of jungle floor, Dion focused on a natural, historical constant. In this case, he turned to the banks of the River Thames, looking for fragments of individual and ephemeral histories. London's location, its growth and its fortunes can be attributed to the Thames. The two sites yielded a wide variety of artefacts and tokens of life as lined Millbank on the north shore of the Thames and Bankside on the south. Working over a number of days, Dion's team collected large quantities of items, including clay pipes, vividly decorated shards of delftware, oyster shells and plastic toys. The finds were then meticulously cleaned and classified in 'archaeologists' tents' on the Tate Gallery's lawn at Millbank during the summer of 1999.

A text by Alex Coles frames Dion's projects and further texts from the diverse lecture programme held at the Tate Gallery in conjunction with "Tate Thames Dig" elucidate the artist's work.

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