courtesy: the artist, Frith Street Gallery, London and Wako Works of Art, Tokyo

Rise and Fall

ArtistFiona TAN
Material/ TechniqueHD
Size/ Duration21 min.
Copyright Notice© Fiona TAN
Year of acquisition/ donation2014
DescriptionBorn in Pekanbaru, Indonesia in 1966. Lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Born to a Chinese father and an Australian mother and raised in Australia. Moved to the Netherlands in 1988. Studied at the Royal Academy of Visual Arts in Amsterdam. Since attracting attention in 1997 with a documentary film tracing her own genealogy scattered around the world, has continued to produce mainly filmic works. Often weaves fragments of old documentary films, text, and footage Tan’s herself has shot into her works, creating new narratives and a filmic language of her own.

"Roll I & II" is an early video installation in which Tan herself is seen rolling down a slope on a large screen and an image of a motionless hand being held out horizontally is shown on a small video monitor. There is a lack of balance in the way the work occupies space, and this and the contrast between motion and stillness and large and small formats has an unsettling effect on the viewer. "Linnaeus’ Flower Clock" features the reading aloud of a letter recalling the past, presenting a spatial concept of memory and time that Tan has continued to pursue ever since. "Rise and Fall" is a work deriving from a strong interest in archiving simultaneous memories that are brought together from different places, times, and narratives. The women who appear over and over on two vertical screens create a new flow of time that moves back and forth between different people’s memories. The focus in the flow of time is continually changing with nothing to suggest context or relationships with any sort of clarity. Viewers are left to create their own narratives with their own modulations and variations of time and space.