Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions

Landfall and Departure: Epilogue
11 January – 10 March 2018
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo

The End of Love
30 August – 26 November 2017
Whitechapel Gallery, London

Die Kraft des Alters / Aging Pride
16 November 2017 – 11 March 2018
Belvedere, Vienna

Weerzien / ReView
16 September 2017 – 18 February 2018
Museum de Pont, Tilburg

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Fiona Tan is an artist working primarily with film and video. She is best known for her skillfully crafted and intensely moving installations, in which explorations of identity, memory and history are key.

Fiona Tan initially became known for a body of work that relied on the use of archival films, questioning the observer and the observed and challenging the assumptions of the colonial past. Portraiture has been explored in various works combining an analysis of its art-historical and sociological context with how time influences our perception of those portrayed. Recent works concentrate on how memory is connected to images in our mind and on how inaccurate and yet creative memory can be. Throughout her work Tan shows a continuing interest in the motivations of the traveler or explorer. The question how we represent ourselves and what mechanisms determine how we interpret the representation of others, are repeatedly being investigated, revealing what is behind and also beyond the confines of the image.

Both poetic and subversive, Tan’s work is characterized by great attention to detail, accomplished editing of sound, word and image and the careful use of the sculptural space and architecture in which a piece is presented. These elements combine to produce a sensory experience equal to its intellectual content. The elements of man’s existence – our sensual impressions, the interplay of memory, knowledge and image, and our awareness of time and space – seem to collide and merge into one intensified experience of being. Tan is, as one writer put it, an artist of ‘images that refresh the gaze.’

Early works such as Facing Forward (1998) have been analyzed from a post colonial perspective, while her explorations of the portrait genre address notions of the self and the complex status of the portrait as a medium of representation. Countenance (2002) and The Changeling (2006) have been discussed within the discourse on the archive and archival principles. Notions of painting seem to surface in her use of colors, the visual richness of the images and the quiet, timeless character of the viewing experience. Whilst the spatial concerns that lie at the heart of how her installations are conceived, recall the concerns of sculpture.

Tan has participated in many international exhibitions including the Documenta and the Biennales of Sao Paulo, Istanbul, Sydney and Yokohama. In 2009 Tan represented The Netherlands at the Venice Biennale. Her work is represented in numerous international public and private collections including the Tate Modern, London, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the New Museum, New York.

Fiona Tan lives and works in Amsterdam. She is represented by Frith Street Gallery, London, Wako Works of Art, Tokyo and Peter Freeman Gallery, New York.






Fiona Tan is represented by:

Frith Street Gallery, London

Wako Works of Art, Tokyo


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Cloud Island I, Project for the Venice Architecture Biennale, 2010

2 channel HD installation
colour, stereo

Cloud Island I, Project for the Venice Architecture Biennale 2010 will be the first artproject of the Benesse Foundation to concentrate specifically on the inhabitants of the Seto Islands. Past projects and the artworks on display in the Naoshima musea deal with the relationship between man and natural landscape. The architecture of Sejima and Nishizawa on Inujima and Teshima provide me with a unique opportunity to deal with the changing human landscape. As I film the village and its inhabitants this new and beautiful architecture be naturally present itself, in a self-explanatory way, embedded as it is in the village and island landscape.

The islands themselves wear on their skin the marks and scars of history. The small island of Inujima is, in a nutshell, exemplary for the history of industrialisation in Japan during the last 400 years. The old granite quarries, often filled with water now, are a permanent reminder of the days when the famous Inujima stone was taken from this island for the building of famous castles in Tokyo, Osaka and elsewhere. And the ruins of the copper refinery bear testimony to the success story of the rise of industry and the modernisation of the Japanese economy in the late nineteenth century.

Now with the local population on the smaller islands steadily depleting, this project comes at a crucial moment in time. My filming will concentrate on the current situation at a moment of change. Filming took place just as the first four buildings from Kazuyo Sejima were reaching completion. But the work will refer to the past history and the social and economical changes I have briefly mentioned. This work will contain no interviews, nor spoken word.

The screen on one side shows a projection of the two islands from a bird's eye point of view. The geography of the islands and the layout and positioning of the new architecture projects becomes clear here. On the other side the screen shows footage filmed in and around the village of Inujima. The montage of this side shows an impression of the current situation. We see several islanders as they go about their daily life. Shots portray the people who live here now, for the most part elderly, but all of them active and hardworking.

Filmed on location on Inujima and Teshima, Japan

Commissioned by the Naoshima Fukutake Art Museum Foundation
Funded by Naoshima Fukutake Art Museum Foundation and Wako Works of Art, Tokyo


Cloud Island I, Project for the Venice Architecture Biennale, 2010