BORCH Gallery & Editions
Ideas of Utopia
Ideas of Utopia
BORCH Gallery & Editions are delighted to present two photogravure projects by Fiona Tan, approaching different utopian visions, in 'Ideas of Utopia.'
The first collaboration between Fiona Tan and BORCH Editions, 'Studies for Elsewhere' (2018), refers to Thomas More’s book 'Utopia' (1518). In the photogravure project, Tan imagines today’s Los Angeles as More’s remote island whose inhabitants live in an ideal society. She juxtaposes the dreamlike cityscape of LA with excerpts of her own thoughts transcribed in the sign language designed by More 500 years ago for his ideal society of Utopia.
'Shadow Archive' (2019), the second collaboration, is the realization of a utopian vision by Paul Otelet and Henri La Fontaine who devoted themselves to building an archive of world knowledge, between 1895 and 1945. Tan digitally designed and constructed a circular building to house the imaginary archive closely linked to unrealized plans from the early 20th century. Nevertheless, when looking at the six photogravures depicting abandoned rooms with seemingly endless rows of index-card cabinets, the spectator gets the impression of walking a real archive—destined to decay over time like the paper it is supposed to protect.
Fiona Tan, Shadow Archive V, 2019 (detail)
Fascinated but also puzzled by this grand and impossible visionary dream, I have designed and constructed a circular building to house this imaginary archive. But in keeping with the digital era we currently live in, this utopian architecture, drawn up as realistically as possible in a one to one scale, has been built entirely digitally.
Fiona Tan, about 'Shadow Archive' in 2019
Fiona Tan signing 'Studies for Elsewhere'
Master printers Thomas Jennions and Mette Ulstrup printing 'Shadow Archive'
Fiona Tan, Studies for Elsewhere (I), 2018 (detail)
FIONA TAN, born in 1966 in Pekanbaru, Indonesia, currently lives and works in Amsterdam. Tan works primarily with photography, film and video installation. Her works relate to themes such as identity, memory and history, often based on thorough research. Her project 'Shadow Archive' was part of her solo exhibition 'Shadow Archive' at Musée des Arts Contemporains in Grand Hornu, Belgium. Tan has written and directed two feature length films. In 2016–17 she received a scholarship for an artist residency at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. In 2019, Tan received the Spectrum International Prize for Photography in Germany. She represented the Netherlands at the Venice Biennale in 2009. Her work can be found in numerous international collections including the Tate Modern, London, the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, and the MCA, Chicago.