A Gift To Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling Erika Tan & Mio Shirai
BankART Studio NYK
3-9 Kaigan Dori,
Naka-ku Yokohama, Japan
26.6.2009 - 2.8.2009 11:30-19:00
Private Viewing: 26th June, 19:00
Following on from her 2 month residency last year in BankART, Yokohama, Erika Tan will be showing some of the works made while in Japan in BankART gallery spaces. The first The Syntactical Impossibility of Approaching with a Pure Heart, a large scale work which is a meditation on a-priori knowledge, the encounters with the unexpected and the inevitable impossibilities of reconciling representation, experience and expectation. Mount Fuji or Fuji-san comes to play a central role in this work, and the title refers in part to the mythological tale of the fate of faith-less or unworthy pilgrims. The work consists of 13 video works, several hundred donated drawn images, compiled or composite Mount Fuji's*, and other elements such as topological type puzzles, viewing mechanisms, and LED signs.
Image: Erika Tan, from 'Made in Japan': 'Ghost in the Machine', 2008
The second work, The Ghost in the Machine has a more direct reference to Yokohama itself and her personal experiences of physically navigating the city at night, alone. Witnessed but not watched, hearing but not listening, occasionally a missed step, a siren in the distance, a blink of an eye disrupts the seemingly never ending loops of video that make up the work. For this work she had the pleasure of working with six dance students from the Kazuo Ohno school whose performances of various forms of engagement make up the mainstay of the work.
A third work, Ibn Battuta's Worries takes the form of a single channel travelogue. This carries on from Shot Through (http://www.luxonline.org.uk/artists/erika_tan/shot_through.html) a previous travelogue work, which interrogated the writings of philosophers and theorists such as Derrida, Barthe, Sontag and Cristeva who made short visits to China and followed up with written interpretations, theorising and ponderings which now circulate and form part of China's global textual patina. Ibn Battuta's Worries takes a first person account of his travels to the 'east'. A 14th century Moroccan traveller, his journeys or at least the accounts of them took him as far as China and were eventually written up in the Rihla also titled A Gift To Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling. It is doubtful if he ever got to Japan, but if he had, this might have been his story. Interwoven with her own personal accounts, the work is a mixture of factual re-telling, fantastic imaginings and manipulated imagery. This work is still in production and will be completed later this year.
A Gift To Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling, was also exhibited at NGCA, Sunderland, UK.
Text by Erika Tan