What follows is an ordinary situation, an episode to be related and forgotten
15 April 2011 – 4 June 2011
ANDREAS GRIMM MÜNCHEN (www.andreasgrimmgallery.com) is delighted to announce the third solo exhibition with Lisa Tan. The artist’s work negotiates her longstanding interest in loss as a constant yet shifting condition of being that shapes the quotidian while anticipating the profound. Her works are marked by an elegant visual economy, and have taken the form of photographs, videos, sculptures, drawings, writing…and a champagne cocktail.
For this exhibition, Tan has assembled discreet pieces that relate to one another rather obliquely, leaving open spaces for the viewer—perhaps to imagine questions emerging from the oddly fatalistic title of this exhibition. What is an ordinary situation, and how does forgetting generate its own reflective state? Consisting of works on paper, with the exception of one photographic piece, the works here propose an aesthetic of forgetting, stemming from transitions between language and image, different states of visibility, and the effects of time and nature.
The ordinary situations in this case include an enduring friendship—captured in the letters written to the major figure of French romantic painting, Eugène Delacroix, from his life-long friend (and former lover), the aptly named Mme de Forget. The series, titled In Search of the Forgotten, Letters from Mme de Forget to Eugène Delacroix, 2010-2011, consists of delicate chine-collé prints that are reproductions of a selection of letters that were written over several decades (special acknowledgement and gratitude to the Archives départementales du Val-de-Marne).
Two sister works on view include, Alle Worte, die sich nicht allein mit Worten beschreiben lassen (Duden, Mannheim 1970), 2011, and Bilder, die alle Worte beschreiben, die sich nicht allein mit Worten beschreiben lassen (Duden, Mannheim 1970), 2011. For an English-speaking viewership, these titles translate to: “All the words that cannot be described by words alone” and “The images that describe all the words that cannot be described by words alone.” Tan has been looking at various foreign language dictionaries, accounting for an experience of loss—in the way language perpetually and paradoxically obscures and displaces the thing it signifies. In doing so, the works also imagine how images too become displaced and more curious in their supposed explanation and definition of a thing.
In the “blind-stamped” letterpress drawing 2 Americans, 2010, the text is derived from an article about the crash of Air France flight 447, written in early June of 2009, as published in The New York Times at a point when the commercial aircraft could not be located between its origin of Rio de Janeiro and its destination of Paris. The barely visible text lists the nationalities of those who died and read like a dissonantly irreverent cast of characters in a play.
The only photographic work in the exhibition, Alter Nordfriedhof May 2007, 2011, is a collection of casual snapshots taken in the nearby Alter Nordfriedhof cemetery on a spring day, during the artist’s previous visit to Munich. From afar, the framed work looks like a verdant grid. A closer examination reveals how vines and flowers have obscured all but each of the tombstone’s general shape, creating a beautiful anonymity.
Lisa Tan lives in Stockholm and New York. She received her M.F.A. from The University of Southern California (USC). Her work has been exhibited at venues such as Artists Space (New York), Galerie VidalCuglietta (Brussels), Centro Galego de Arte Contemporáneo CGAC (Santiago de Compostela), Galerie Nordenhake (Stockholm), Kadist Art Foundation (Paris), Galeria Marília Razuk (São Paulo), El Centro Cultural Montehermoso (Vitoria-Gasteiz), Galerie Kamm (Berlin), D’Amelio Terras (New York).