Circular Ruins

2019

Circular Ruins (Works)

ropes, cords, wooden structure, steel cables, audio
dimensions ca. 14 x 14 x 3 m

This large scale sculptural installation is made entirely by hand. Appealing to more senses than just the visual, its sculptural qualities ensure that it is tactile, physical. At first glance evoking the changing room of hanging garments common to all coal mines, the installation comprises thousands of knotted ropes suspended from circular rings in the space. A male voice can be heard reading from Borges’ short story, ‘The Circular Ruins’. Highlighting the impossibilities of transmission across time and space, and of thought and physical reality, Tan attempted to translate the author’s words into numbers, and from there into knots inspired by 'khipu', the mnemonic or partial language system once used by the lost civilization of the Incas. For Tan, Borges’ circular narrative can be seen as a playful questioning of all artistic endeavor.