Technicolor Dreaming I-VI
Image dimensions: 36,5 x 49,5 cm; 54 x 70 cm
Paper size: 53,5 x 79 cm; 78,5 x 107,5 cm
Edition: 12 + 3 AP
The six prints of Fiona Tan’s Technicolor Dreaming series are related to her film installation Footsteps, created for her 2022 solo exhibition at the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam. Tan selected the images for the six prints by instinct; some of them are taken from the film, others from the museum’s archive. This choice of imagery connects Technicolor Dreaming to the film and, at the same time, creates an independent, self-contained project.
The images possess an ethnographical quality, capturing Dutch workers’ living conditions or strolling school children in traditional attire. They are typical images of the time, displaying life and society in the Netherlands in the early 20th century. Although the footage was only made just over a hundred years ago, it appears surprisingly old and distant, both because of the protagonists’ traditional clothes and the grainy quality of the film.
Technicolor Dreaming is informed by Tan’s interest in early filmmakers’ obsession with color, when frames were hand colored in a lengthy, elaborate process using small brushes and stencils. Unlike in printmaking, perfect registration was not possible. Likewise, in the prints, “the colors have their own life, dancing on top of the image”, as Tan herself puts it. The prints were created in a two-step process: first the black-and-white photographic material was printed from a photogravure plate; in a second step, carefully considered selections of the images were printed in color from a second, smaller copper plate hand painted using spit bite.
For Technicolor Dreaming, Tan abandons the notion of technical perfection in favor of an aesthetic which visibly references the works’ production process. While color was added to the images in order to enrich them, the force of the copper plate being pressed into the sheet of paper almost cuts through the illusory photographic image.