Fiona Tan: Short Voyages

14 Sep - 27 Oct 2006 Soho Square

Fiona Tan is one of the most acclaimed contemporary artists working in film and video today.

Tan’s art often portrays individuals and groups of different cultural, ethnic and social backgrounds and deals with themes such as identity, memory and the perception of cultural difference. Moving between documentation, fiction, biography and fantasy, she always acknowledges that the camera, rather than being a neutral instrument of recording, is a means of subjective interpretation.


Tan has always been intrigued by twins, in the double projection Study for a Portrait (2006) she concentrates on identical sisters Jorina and Irina. Like a number of Tan’s earlier works such as Countenance (2002) and Correction (2004), this piece takes the form of a filmed portrait, here the individual subjects share a collective identity, they are something of an everyday mystery, living in a world from which most of us are excluded.


The Changeling (2006), is also a two-channel work. The first screen shows around two hundred images of anonymous Japanese schoolgirls while on the second screen one has been singled out. The single portrait is accompanied by a monologue (spoken by actress Fiona Shaw) about a fictive girl’s reflections on herself, her own life and that of her mother and grandmother. Each time this work is shown the spoken text is translated into the local language so constantly shifting in nuance and meaning.


The final works in the exhibition are a series of drawings, sketches and photographs which illustrate Tan’s working process. They relate to a number of different projects including The Changeling, the photographic studies of the wreck of Brighton’s West Pier and her forthcoming film A Lapse of Memory.