Exhibition documents, 2020


Moderna Museet, The Collection

23 October 2020–


Moderna Museet

Skeppsholmen, Stockholm

Main entrance: Exercisplan 4




In the collection you can take part of the work “Notes from Underground” by Lisa Tan. The video explores the boundary between personal and cultural history, in a winding mental voyage through artistic works and geological eras.


Lisa Tan’s video is underpinned by American philosopher and activist Susan Sontag, who spent time in Stockholm in 1968 on the invitation of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, after a series of articles criticising the Vietnam War. In ”Notes from Underground” (2013), taking its title from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel, Sontag is engaged as a dialogue partner in the artistic process. But she also becomes support for the estrangement Tan experienced as a newcomer from the USA to Sweden at a time of growing polarisation, where an explicitly anti-immigrant party had been voted into parliament.


In the interview sampled in the film, Susan Sontag stresses our responsibility to highlight and offer other perspectives in the darkest times. The work references a scene from ”Duet for Cannibals” (1969), one of two films Sontag wrote and directed in Sweden. Existential questions are raised on how individuals choose their own actions, as actors Gösta Ekman and Adriana Asti walk among Siri Derkert’s concrete reliefs in Östermalmstorg Metro station. Other passages show Tan’s own editing and research, including on the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, which is near where she grew up. The cinematic narrative is shaped by vertical and horizontal movements – via rail tunnels and lift shafts, through cavern systems and the topographical sound graphs created by Sontag’s voice.


Lisa Tan uses photography, video and text in her practice, and is a professor at Konstfack University. Her work focuses on issues of belonging, loss and representation. The video work is part of a trilogy, extrapolating from the authors Susan Sontag, Virginia Woolf and Clarice Lispector.


Draken II: Amaryllis in Vase

Benedikte Bjerre, Viktor Fordell, Lisa Tan

June 6-21, 2020







Press release:

Draken II is an exhibition series taking place in Pelican Self Storage at Fridhemsplan in Stockholm. The framework is a reiteration of an automated exhibition concept from 2017, where coyote and groupware curated exhibitions in storage rooms located in Copenhagen and Stockholm. Correlated to the exhibition is 'Red Herring', a serial in the buy & sell section in the local newspaper Mitt i Södermalm, written by artist and writer Louis Scherfig.


09.06.20 - 14.06.20

Memory Loss

Adam Shiu-Yang Shaw


16.06.20 - 21.06.20

Amaryllis in Vase

Benedikte Bjerre

Viktor Fordell

Lisa Tan




Hanni Kamaly


Lisa Tan: My Pictures of You

May 7, 2020 – September 9, 2020

curated by Katie Geha


Atlanta Contemporary

535 Means Street NW

Atlanta, GA 30318





In her video My Pictures of You (2017–19), Lisa Tan thinks of the images of Mars as a death mask of Earth, captured millions of years in the future, yet witnessed in the present. Compelled by photographs from NASA’s expeditions depicting Mars’ topography, Tan senses how the planet’s dry lake beds, undulating sand dunes, and horizon could be our own. Their striking familiarity transports her to the desert terrain of the American Southwest where she was raised. She bounces her poetic speculation off of a scientist responsible for key instruments gauging water and atmosphere on Mars.


A road trip through the desert frames questions around climate and extinction. Yet the deeper concern is with unraveling photographic meaning in relation to the Mars images, through the artist’s alternative analysis of Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida. Barthes’ seminal text on photography pivots around an image of the author’s deceased, beloved mother as a child in what is known as the Winter Garden photograph. My Pictures of You offers a thought-experiment: replace Barthes’ mother for “mother” Earth. Despite the video’s bleak terrain, it manages to transform its own pessimism into a joyful affirmation of earthbound existence.




Lisa Tan: My Pictures of You

Artists' Film International 2020



Whitechapel Gallery

77-82 Whitechapel High St


E1 7QX




Artist Q&A


Bonniers Konsthall selected Lisa Tan's My Pictures of You for the 2020 installment of Whitechapel Gallery's Artists' Film International.


Artists’ Film International is a network of art institutions from around the world, first established in 2008 by the Whitechapel Gallery, London. From a selected theme, each participating institution chooses a film from an emerging artist. The theme for 2020 is Language.



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.