Fiona Tan

Fiona Tan – Ascent (2016)

Through a gray blanket of cloud the contours of a mountain can be barely discerned. This is Mount Fuji, a volcano with many faces and of immeasurable cultural and symbolic significance. We are lead through the film by the voices of two fictitious characters – Mary, an English woman and her deceased Japanese partner, Hiroshi. Mary receives a parcel containing letters and a collection of photographs from Hiroshi. His letters, in which he describes climbing Mount Fuji, trigger in her mind a train of thoughts and reflections. The photographs we discover together with Mary. 4,500 exceptional and diverse photographs from the past 150 years form the basis for this film. Many images are of undeniably breathtaking beauty – ranging from early examples of nineteenth century Japanese studio photography to military propaganda photos from the thirties, from victorious American press images to amateur snapshots across several decades. Read More »

Fiona Tan – News from the Near Future (2003)

Amsterdam-based photographer and video artist Fiona Tan (born 1966) has been a central figure on the contemporary art scene since the 1990s. In her video News from the Near Future (2003) a collage of historic film and audio material tells of man’s ambivalent relationship with water as a force of nature. Drawing on the archives of the Amsterdam Film Museum, Tan composed a narrative crescendo starting off with idyllic impressions of the watery world and building to increasingly menacing scenarios of an unleashed nature. Images of floods and churning seas, of wild winds and storms, parade before our eyes the destructive force of water. Tragedies at sea are reported in the style of old newsreels or radio shows, segueing into pictures of flooded cities that – as indicated in the work’s title – forebode future catastrophes. The cinematic repertoire of waves, tides and floods acts as an historical memory, presenting the sea as a metaphor for the flow of time. Read More »