text and photos by Beatrix Adorna
By peeling off different images and texts, Tan takes objects out of its context and uses it to form a new piece of art through collage. He makes use of materials such as pages from art books, texts, or magazines. For his works in the exhibit, Tan widely used billboards and posters plastered across public spaces in Berlin. Similar to the collages, the city’s walls are plastered with different overlapping images which results to one singular mass through time.
After making the collage, he then “translates” it using oil on a larger canvas, adding or removing parts when needed. The paintings, although based on a collage, become a presence of its own. In contrast to the collage’s glossy texture and sharp images, the paintings are organic and distinctly shaped by the artist’s hand.
The works dwell on the “reflexive materiality” of things: fragments of different ordinary stories are transformed into art objects. The terms ‘Recto/Verso’ denote the front (recto) and the reverse or underside (verso) of bound materials and art objects, and the exhibition expands this range with his appropriation of found billboard posters and texts as well as the process of reversing the side of objects as a source of new images.
Tan first made collage-based paintings during the early 1990s and experimented with the medium through a series of annual exhibitions at the former Finale Art Gallery in SM Megamall throughout the mid to late 1990s. He exhibited a succession of collage-based works from 2009-2012, and in 2015, he had his last exhibit before Recto/Verso entitled “Nothing is more real than nothing” which was also held at Archivo.
Recto/Verso was on view at Archivo 1984 Gallery from June 2 until June 24, 2017. Archivo 1984 Gallery is located at Warehouse 2135, Chino Roces Avenue, Legazpi Village, Makati, Metro Manila. For more information, visit www.archivo1984.com