Lisa Tan’s work is imbued with personal narrative and marked by material and conceptual precision. It takes the form of video, installation, text, sculpture, photography, performance, and other gestures. She often draws from literature and the history of photography to think through the formation of the self: “I am most fascinated by the complexities of individual subjectivity. How it shifts in time. How it can be radically altered from shock, encounter, involvement, intimacy.”
In 2012, she moved from New York to Stockholm and spent several years working on a suite of videos. “I ‘socialized’ with writers, drawn to things they wrote or said late in their creative life.” Clarice Lispector, Susan Sontag, and Virginia Woolf, respectively, serve as guides to the various worlds figured within each of Lisa’s videos, illuminating the role of art against the sharp angles of our time.
In My Pictures of You, Lisa mulls over images of Mars as questions around technology, climate, and extraction unfold on a roadtrip through the American southwest. The red planet’s undulating sand dunes underline a horizon like our own, leading her to conclude that the images are a death mask of Earth captured millions of years in the future witnessed in the present. To put her poetic speculation into play, she turns to Roland Barthes and a theoretical physicist responsible for instruments gauging water and atmosphere on Mars.
Lisa Tan is now working on an installation at Accelerator in Stockholm opening in the Fall 2023, for which she is translating an illustration by famed British neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks of “physiological organization of migraines” into the exhibition’s overall logic. In Chiusure, she will focus on a catalogue connected to this exhibition and also on producing new prints for an ongoing series that draws on various language dictionaries.