“Editing is like sculpting in time; on the one hand, it's my tool, and at the same time, it's my material.”
For artist and filmmaker Fiona Tan, time is both a raw material and a subject. In her practice, Tan works as a sculptor in time, using motifs and editing techniques to stretch moments or rearrange historical time. For Tan, time is a concept that often overlaps in form and content. Read more …
For Tan, time is a concept that often overlaps in form and content.
Archives are central elements in Tan’s exploration of time. In the film ‘Footsteps’ (2022) (presented at the 2023 Berlinale under the title ‘Dearest Fiona’), Tan juxtaposes letters from her father between 1988 and 1990 with archival footage from the Netherlands made between 1890 to 1930. Through this unlikely asynchrony of time, Tan explores the unexpected connections between histories and the formation of communities and identities.
Another central theme in Tan’s practice is the role of lens-based media and its relation to memory. Her multi-channel work ‘Inventory’(2012) is an unusual portrait of the city of Rome seen through multiple mediations. The film is shot at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, the former residence of neoclassical architect John Soane and home to his private collection of Roman antiquities. Six different projections, each dedicated to one particular medium of film or video, show simultaneous glimpses of the relics: a marble foot, a stone torso worn out by time, or the eyes of stoic faces. Through multiple gazes, Tan invites the viewer to see and reflect on how we see through the camera and time.
Fiona Tan (b. 1966, Pekan Baru, Indonesia) lives in Amsterdam, where she studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunst. Her oeuvre spans multiple media, such as photography, film, and video art installations. Born in Indonesia and raised in Australia by her Chinese-Australian parents, Tan’s work regularly explores issues of global cultural imprint. Often combining elements of fiction and non-fiction, her work explores themes such as memory, identity, and history. Fiona Tan was featured at Documenta 11 in 2002 and was the Dutch representative at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009). Previous solo exhibitions include Eye Filmmuseum, (Amsterdam, 2022), Museum der Moderne (Salzburg, 2020), MACS Grand-Hornu (Boussu, 2019), Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2019), Brisbane Institute of Contemporary Art (2017), Tel Aviv Museum (2017) and Fondazione MAXXI (Rome, 2013). In 2019 Fiona Tan was awarded the SPECTRUM International Prize for Photography and in 2017 she received the 2017 Amsterdamprijs voor de kunst.
Film clips from Hollandse Meesters in de 21e eeuw: Fiona Tan (2013) dir. Jorien van Nes courtesy of Interakt © 2013
Live performance of ‘Me to Feggari’ and premiere of ‘Leviathan’ by Calliope Tsoupaki with Fie Schouten (bass clarinet), Nora Fischer (soprano), Kaori Yamagami and Michiel Weidner (violincello), Daniel Hammersley and Gabriel Waite (violincello from Royal Northern Sinfonia). A special event to celebrate the opening of Fiona Tan: DEPOT at Baltic, 9 July 2015. Performance documentation courtesy Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art © 2015
Fiona Tan was interviewed by Nanna Rebekka at BORCH Editions in Copenhagen, Denmark. The conversation was recorded in November 2022.
Camera: Simon Weyhe
Produced and edited by: Nanna Rebekka
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2023. Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet, C.L. Davids Fond og Samling and Fritz Hansen.
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