Fiona Tan: Provenance and Other Works

When 13 May 2010 - 30 Jul 2010
Where Peter Freeman, Inc.
560 Broadway #602/603
New York, NY 10012
United States
Enquiry 212 966 5154

Fiona Tan, Provenance, 2008.  Courtesy of the artist and Peter Freeman Inc NY

May 13 – July 30 2010

Opening Reception: May 13, 6-8pm

Press Release:

Peter Freeman, Inc. is pleased to present the first solo New York exhibition of Fiona Tan. “Provenance and other works” consists of three film and video pieces: “Downside Up,” a projection piece from 2002; “Provenance” (2008), a collection of six film portraits most recently shown at the Dutch Pavilion in the Venice Biennale; and for the first time her newest work, a self-portrait entitled “Projection” (2010).

Though Tan works in the modern mediums of film and video, the traditional genre of portraiture is key to her work. Describing the formation of “Provenance” (2008), Tan wrote, “I am interested in how images affect and inform the internal picture we have of ourselves, of others, and of the world around us.” Such an interest is also central to “Projection” (2010) in which the artist turns the camera on herself, albeit at a double remove. She first filmed herself, then projected the film onto a sheet, and then filmed the projection. It is the film of the projection of herself that is shown on a portrait format screen, emphasizing the ephemerality of the self.

“Provenance,” created for the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, consists of six film portraits of Amsterdam residents (friends and family) in video loops of three to five minutes. From her research in the Rijksmuseum’s archives on its collection of 17th-century Dutch portraits, Tan realised that the museum had as much interest in the lives and histories of each sitter as in any artist’s rendering. The six LCD displays have been re-oriented vertically and hang in the gallery like portrait paintings. Here Tan creates an associative connection between her adopted city’s Golden Age and her contemporary practice of film-making.

Told from the point of view of our most obvious dopplegänger, “Downside Up” (2002) recalls Russian Constructivist photography with it’s image of pedestrians being “walked” by their shadows. The text in the video asks us to “Imagine travelling the four corners of the earth only to discover that the world is flat.” If the world were flat the difference between us and our counterparts on the other side is as infra-thin as the space between ourselves and our shadows.

Fiona Tan was born in 1966 in Pekan Baru, Indonesia and she currently lives and works in Amsterdam. Tan represented the Netherlands at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009) with the presentation of three works: “Disorient,” “Provenance,” and “Rise and Fall”. Her exhibition “Rise and Fall,” a major retrospective, opened at the Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, in March, it will travel to the Vancouver Art Gallery (May 2010), then to the Sackler-Freer Museum in Washington, D.C. (September 2010) Tan will be exhibiting “Disorient” at The Nelson-Atkins Museum in January 2011. Previous presentations include solo and group exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2008); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2004); Tate Modern, London (2004); Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul (2003); Akademie der Künste, Berlin (2002); Documenta 11, Kassel (2002) and the 49th Venice Biennale (2002). Fiona Tan won the Infinity Award for Art in 2004 and was short listed for the first Artes Mundi Prize in 2003 and the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in 2007.

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