Lisa Tan: My Pictures of You

Lisa TanMy Pictures of You, 2017-19, HD video with sound, 23 mins, Selected by Bonniers Konsthall

In My Pictures of You (2017-19), Lisa Tan invites us to imagine that NASA photographs of the surface of Mars could be Earth, millions of years into the future, and devoid of life. The artist senses how the planet’s dry lake beds, undulating sand dunes, and horizon could be our own. Prompting speculation on climate change and extinction, we discover their striking familiarity as the film takes us on a road trip to the desert terrain of the American Southwest.

In intermittent sequences, Tan directly explores the relationship between image and language. She proposes an alternative reading of Camera Lucida, the influential 1980 text on photography by the literary theorist and philosopher Roland Barthes which pivots around a photograph of the author’s beloved late mother. In a thought-experiment, Tan changes Barthes meaning by switching words or imagining another word (or another picture) as she asks her reader, a lead researcher from the Mars expedition,  to replace the words mother and she with earth – Mother Earth.

Lisa Tan (b. 1973, US) lives in Stockholm where she is a Professor of Fine Art at Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts, and Design. She works with video, photography, text and installation and is currently included in osloBIENNALEN First Edition 2019-2024. Recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition at Kunsthall Trondheim (2017), and the group exhibitions, An Inventory of Shimmers, MIT List Center (2017), Show and Tell, Malmö Konstmuseum (2017), Why Not Ask Again?, 11th Shanghai Biennale (2016), Decent, ICA Philadelphia (2016), Surround Audience, Triennial exhibition at the New Museum (2015). Her work is included in the public collections of Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Malmö Konstmuseum, the City of Oslo’s public art collection, and Coleção Moraes-Barbosa, São Paulo.

Bonniers Konsthall, located in central Stockholm, is a place for Swedish and International contemporary art. Since the start in 2006, Bonniers Konsthall has shown and discussed art from the world over. Exhibitions range from thematic group exhibitions that want to put the art into a larger cultural context, to solo exhibitions where artworks are often made specifically for the exhibition.