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Exhibitions

JA Y  T A N


Y O U  C A N  S T A N D  A N D  W A T C H  O R  S P A R


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Jay Tan has recently read Madame Bovary written by Flaubert and the main character – Emma Bovary – had a great impact on her. She wrote on the margin of the book that “informed by experience and regardless of experience” as a sort of instinctive reaction to the thoughts of Emma Bovary, who is a quick-tempered and frivolous character, especially in her grandiose thoughts about motherhood and Christianity, she feels like trying hard, but still being lazy. She pursues to be notable and kind to grow great emotions, but can't overcome her constraints. “This description is not only about her, but it is also true about me as well” said Jay Tan.


With her works Jay Tan attempts to draw attention to phenomenons about the connection between the “two great classes: living beings (or substances) and apparatuses1”2. The driving force in her works is the research of how a process can become a form and how can the form affect the process. “We are part of complex choreographies” she says “like history or politics where the most measurable characteristics and forces of the material world are created from our laws, languages and loves”. The Italian philosopher, Agamben differentiates a third class beyond the substances and the apparatuses, the subjects, that arise from the relationship and ruthless fight of the other two classes. Based on Foucault's term “governmentality”, the apparatus can be everything that can understand, change, define, capture, model and control the gestures, the behavior and the opinion of the living beings.


“It is great to think about the world as a melting raspberry ripple that is strained between the apparatuses and the substances. And Emma Bovary is a perfect example for this. She is fluctuating, flapping, she is both a tool and a piece of plump clay shaped by the world and others, objectified and idealized” adds Tan.


The mound like piles, shelves and pots – bottle necks, the densities of different materials, domes, skirts – that she uses in her works are all metaphors for the transferability of both knowledge and experience, but also for the history of sculpture as well. Continuing the research of the diversity and possible connections of the piles and heaps, she tries to complete the thought of objects being something cleverly adaptive, manipulative and manipulable at the same time with the


shelves and different pots she shows. Tangibility and basic mechanics play a key role in her scenes that she makes out of everyday objects to capture a moment from the history and decision-makings of the humankind. The elastic materials (wax, rubber, plasticine, clay, bread and egg) and the exerting forces on them are the keys to the installation's material, conceptual and symbolic constellation.


Jay Tan (1982, UK) lives and works in Rotterdam and London. She studied at the Middlesex University, and graduated from the Fine Art programme of Piet Zwart Insitute in 2010. In the same year she got selected to participate in the Bosch Young Talent Show. In 2013 she got the CoCA Award by the recommendation of Amira Gad. She also had a solo show in the Witte de With Center For Contemporary Art as a CoCA award winner later in 2013. Recently she participated in a group show of Holly Bush Gardens in London and she will show her latest works in the Access Gallery in Vancouver soon. She continues her studies at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam from February.



1 "What I’m trying to pick out with this term is, firstly, a thoroughly heterogenous ensemble consisting of discourses, institutions, architectural forms, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical, moral and philanthropic propositions – in short, the said as much as the unsaid. Such are the elements of the apparatus. The apparatus itself is the system of relations that can be established between these elements." excerpt from an interview entitled The Confession of the Flesh from 1977, in Power/Knowledge Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977, ed. Colin Gordon, The Harvester Press, 1980. pp. 194-228. 2 What is an Apparatus? and Other Essays, Giorgio Agamben, Stanford Press, 2006. p. 14.