Exhibition documents, 2014


Lisa Tan

Bloom Projects: Sunsets

September 7 - January 4, 2015



Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara

653 Paseo Nuevo

Santa Barbara, CA, USA




excerpt from Sunsets by Theodor Ringborg (full PDF version here)


Sometimes one has to take the long way ʹ′round. Lisa Tan’s video Sunsets shows parts of an interview between an anonymous reporter and Brazilian author Clarice Lispector. It is, by all accounts, Lispector’s last appearance before she passed away December 9,1977. We see her reclined in a chair, tired, looking almost pissed-off, as if she really doesn’t want to be there. But then again, she must have been exhausted. She’d been in chronic pain for more than 10 years, since, in 1966, falling asleep cigarette in hand and setting fire to her mattress. The interview, as we see it, is being translated by someone who communicates it to the artist, who in turn writes it down. A person speaks to another person, seen by a third who tells a fourth, who puts it in writing.


Lispector’s first line is, “I think that when I write, I am dead.” She says it in response to a question writer Rainer Maria Rilke was once asked, “If you couldn’t write anymore, would you die?” Death is brought to Lispector by the act of writing. Whether she anticipates death as she writes, or if she is in fact dead as she writes, matters little. Both being dead and forestalling death is to come face-to-face with death. Both being dead and anticipating death is to be ferried by Charon, the question is how far it is to shore. And though we are all, indeed, in the same boat, here it is by all means a particular kind of death. Given that it hinges on a special propinquity, a kinship between writing and death and death and death, it is perhaps the gift of death, as in Jacques Derrida’s second sense when he asked, “How does one give oneself death in that other sense where se donner la mort also means to interpret death, to give oneself a representation of it, a figure, a signification or destination for it?” Possibly, it would be to write to think of death. And, perhaps, to write unto death. To write and think about the death of death.


We, the ones that watch the video, don’t see the whole interview. We hear it, through its multiple layers what the reporter asks, Lispector’s response, the translator’s interpretation and Tan’s keyboard clicking,

like echoing echoes. What we see in addition to the interview, because it is a film, so we’re always faced with something, are scenes filmed in Sweden at either 3 a.m. during the summer, or 3 p.m. during the winter—hours of twilight, hours of darkness and light, hours in-between that allude to both endings and beginnings. We’re also faced computer screens that show various planets and stars and universes. They are obviously screensavers, functions of the computer that come into being when it, as it’s said, goes to sleep. But is it also a parable to the idea of something’s ingredient? Suggesting, in some way, that each pixel is a building block for the impenetrable image of space as it takes more than one pixel to make an image?


The mind was dreaming. The world was its dream.

11 April - 07 June 2014


Jonathas de Andrade, Edgardo Aragon, Gavin Murphy, Lisa Tan

curated by Paula Naughton


Temple Bar Gallery + Studios

5 - 9 Temple Bar

Dublin, Ireland





Temple Bar Gallery + Studios presents The mind was dreaming. The world was its dream, curated by Paula Naughton and featuring work by  Jonathas de Andrade, Edgardo Aragón, Gavin Murphy and Lisa Tan. The exhibition brings together artists who revisit history through personal and staged narratives. Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, real and imagined, each artist creates a palimpsest site to negotiate new meaning. Existing in neither the past or present this in-between space uncovers alternate ‘truths’. Through shared processes of documentation and archiving, the artists address culture as a form of representation in order to examine complex issues of social & political structures.


Essay on the exhibition written by Valerie Connor here



Take Form

May 22 – June 19, 2014


Kristina Matousch, Eline Mugaas, Lisa Tan and Jan Groth


Galleri Riis

Rödbodtorget 2

Stockholm, Sweden




Lisa Tan (b. 1973, Syracuse, New York) works mostly in video, photography and installations to explore the intricate relationship between language and experience. Persistent themes of desire, loss, and longing appear in her conceptually driven works that are characteristically executed in a clear and unsentimental manner. Kristina Matouschs’ (b. 1974, Kalmar) art is powerful; the object’s high-gloss finish, coupled with profound content including the embarrassing, disgusting, desirable and aggressive, have the ability to occupy and change rooms and those inhabiting them. Jan Groth (b. 1938, Stavanger) works with the deceptively simple, as his oeuvre revolves around the line. He draws, sculpts and has executed monumental tapestries, always with the line as motif. Groth's line seems preliminary of something yet to become but is already complete. Eline Mugaas’ (b. 1969, Oslo) photographs hold pure formal aspects in the seemingly everyday. Her images thus include both the private and public and the motifs contain accidental visual information, together with illusory architectural elements created by light and shadow.