This summer BALTIC presents a survey exhibition and a major new commission by artist and filmmaker Fiona Tan. Born in 1966 in Pekan Baru, Indonesia, Tan works within the contested territory of representation: how we represent ourselves and the mechanisms that determine how we interpret the representation of others. Photography and film – made by herself, by others, or a combination of both – are her media; research, classification and the archive, her strategies. Her skilfully crafted and intensely human film and video installations explore history, time and our place within them.
The spectacular new commission DEPOT re-imagines ‘Jonah the Giant Whale’, a preserved whale exhibited inside a lorry which toured across Europe from the 1950s to the mid-1970s. Tan will rebuild the 76-foot-long vehicle; however, it will now contain a cabinet of curiosities, inviting the viewer to climb aboard.
We hold the complete Vox Populi series of artists’ books by Tan, published by Book Works. Each book in the series (London, Tokyo, Norway, Switzerland, Sydney) presents us with a social portrait of a people taken from images selected from personal and private family photo albums: intimate family portraits that capture private if familiar moments such as the birth of a child, birthdays, family gatherings, adolescence, holidays, brothers and sisters, and first loves. The series draws on the documentary tradition, in combination with contemporary concerns of participation and egalitarianism.