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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Vox Populi London, 2012

photographic installation
265 individually framed colour photographs each 13 x 18 cm
7.5 x 2.5 m

Vox Populi London is a group portrait of a city. Fiona Tan invited a broad range of Londoners to loan her their personal photo albums. She then spent time looking at, selecting and scanning photographs for inclusion in this wall-based installation and in the accompanying artist’s book.
Tan works instinctively, almost as an anthropologist, finding commonalities across the albums as well as incongruities. The births, marriages and family gatherings that are celebrated in these images can be found in albums in many parts of the world. Yet many of the settings here – school halls, famous landmarks and playing fields – are identifiably London. These 265 photographs span five decades and chart the changing nature of film-based photography prior to a pivotal point in photographic history, the full dawn of the digital era.

The resulting work presents Londoners from the particular perspective of the artist, and looks at how we have chosen to represent ourselves, family and friends in whichever place we call home.

Vox Populi, London was commissioned by The Photographers’ Gallery and is the fifth installment, and likely the last, of Tan’s Vox Populi series. Begun in 2004 in Norway, the series fluctuates between cities and countries, and has gone on to include Switzerland, Tokyo, and Sydney.
Vox Populi, London is sponsored by Bloomberg.

The accompanying artist's book – including a text by Brian Dillon – has been co-published by The Photographers' Gallery and Book Works and is available at The Photographers Gallery and via Book Works.


Vox Populi London, 2012