Text, postcards, postcard displays, renovation of public accessible toilets
Myntgata 2, Oslo
Other Artists consists of two components: a renovation of public restrooms and a printed text. Using the production funds provided to her for a commissioned artwork at Myntgata 2, Lisa Tan has chosen to renovate the aging and chilly restrooms of the building, which today houses 60 artist studios, subsidized by the City of Oslo and initiated by osloBIENNALEN First Edition. The restrooms are distinctive in that they are small, single-occupant rooms, situated just off of each landing in the building’s central staircase; a disability restroom is located on the lower level. Tan’s intervention accounts for these common yet private spaces, important within any work environment. The renovation is accompanied by a short text written by Lisa Tan and made available as take-away postcards installed on each floor. In a manner that both informs and becomes the piece itself, the text traces a “circumstantial genealogy” that anticipates the material, emotional, political, and idiosyncratic alignments that occur between artists.
- Other Artists, text on postcard component PDF (35 KB)
- "Take the Stairs" by Josh Shaddock PDF (104 KB)
Installation view in Extractions from a Future History, Public Art Agency Sweden for the city of Luleå
5 - 5
My Pictures of You
HD video with sound
The artist thinks of the images of Mars as a death mask of Earth, captured millions of years in the future, yet witnessed in the present. Compelled by the photographs from NASA’s expeditions depicting Mars’ topography, Tan senses how the planet’s dry lake beds, undulating sand dunes, and horizon, could be our own. Their striking familiarity transports her to the desert terrain of the American Southwest where she was raised. She bounces her poetic speculation off of the scientist responsible for key instruments gauging water and atmosphere on Mars.
A road trip through the desert frames questions around climate and extinction. Yet the deeper concern is with unraveling photographic meaning in relation to the Mars images, through the artist’s alternative analysis of Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida. Barthes’ seminal text on photography pivots around an image of the author’s deceased, beloved mother as a child in what is known as the Winter Garden photograph. My Pictures of You offers a thought-experiment: replace Barthes’ mother for “mother” Earth. Despite the video’s bleak terrain, it manages to transform its own pessimism into a joyful affirmation of earthbound existence.
- osloBIENNALEN First Edition, 2019 (forthcoming)
- Extracts from a Future History, Public Art Agency Sweden, 2017