British artist Tacita Dean is an analogue artist for the digital age.
The largest showing of her work in the southern hemisphere is opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney on Friday.
Dean was linked to the influential Young British Artists group that dominated the global art scene in the 1990s and included the likes of Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.
But her artistic interests are very different to the other YBAs.
The self-titled show at MCA features giant drawings, photographs and film projections, all of it painstakingly created using slower mediums, from sticks of chalk to spools of analogue Super-8 film.
While Dean acknowledges her work is on one level about slowness, it's doesn't seem that way to her from behind the scenes.
"They're always film shoots that are quite fraught, they're shot in a period of time and I have to make things work," she told AAP.
MCA director Suzanne Cotter said Dean's artworks were powerful and deeply human.
"Tacita Dean is undoubtedly one of today's greatest living artists and truly an artist of our time," she said.
Dean is showing one of her latest works at the MCA, Geography Biography (2023), the most directly biographical film of her career, using materials from her personal archive.
She wasn't comfortable initially with the very personal nature of the film, but had to let go of her self-consciousness so she could incorporate old Super-8 reels from her travels in places such as Sierra Leone, Fiji and Leningrad.
The artwork also uses a filming system of Dean's own invention, dubbed the "aperture gate masking system" which enables her to shoot on Super-8 and 16mm film, within a 35mm film.
Making an analogue film stage by stage to the moment of projection, there are moments of magical transformation, according to Dean, that give the work layers of intensity.
"This is why the film image is different from the digital image: it is not only emulsion versus pixels, or light versus electronics, but something deeper - something to do with poetry," she said.
Dean feels she is bringing back art made in the dark, by capitalising on the happenstance and accidents that come with non-digital formats.
"The gift of that is that when it does work, it's very beautiful," she said.
The artist believes she is not the only person concerned about the impact that digital technology and artificial intelligence are having on the world.
Having grown up in the analogue world, using digital technology to make art is uninteresting and ultimately unsatisfying, she said.
Dean insists that analogue film production is still a viable medium, with many young filmmakers choosing to shoot on reels rather than digital.
"What we have to strive to do is protect the knowledge and keep the labs going," she said.
The exhibition also features a recent large-scale chalk on blackboard drawing of a melting ice cap, The Wreck of Hope (2022), that has an inescapable link between the fragile medium of chalk and the environmental threat of climate change.
The show is part of the Sydney International Art Series 2023/2024 which also includes the Art Gallery of NSW's Kandinsky and Louise Bourgeois exhibitions.
Tacita Dean opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia on Friday and runs until March 3.
Australian Associated Press