Fiona Tan / Photo Works


The mundane is beautiful. See Tokyo in a new light through the private lives of others.

Fiona Tan was born in 1966 in Pekan Baru, Indonesia, to a Chinese-Indonesian father and an Australian mother. Now living in Holland having studied in both Amsterdam and Hamburg, her works are known for contesting and underlining cultural identity. With such a rich cultural history herself, it’s no surprise that an in-depth exploration of identity has always been at the forefront of her artistic career.

The main focus of her latest exhibition at Wako Works of Art is the wall-spanning Vox Populi, Tokyo (2007): a collection of 305 private photographs donated by local families – rearranged and deployed as a mural installation. “Vox Populi”, meaning people’s voice, is a series that she has also undertaken in Norway (2004), Sydney (2006), Switzerland (2010) and the final installment, London (2012).

The exhibition invites viewers to see the interpersonal depiction of Tokyo through the invitation of a private album. It focuses on personal history within a family setting, showcasing mundane everyday moments in the megalopolis – alongside events of rite of passage from adolescence to adulthood.

As well as instantly creating a sense of nostalgia for printed photographs in this digital age, the exhibition also actively engages you through the memories of others. For an instant, your life, and the lives of those depicted, are intertwined. It makes you think what amazing yet forgotten photographs must be gathering dust in drawers across the city.

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Fiona Tan “Photo Works” runs until 28 June at Wako Works of Art.

3F Piramide Bldg, 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo.

Tue-Sat 11am-7pm / Closed Sun, Mon & hols.



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