Rise and Fall
Fiona Tan explores storytelling, memory, and the part they play in the formation of identity throughout this exhibition of five video installations, various associated sketches and one single-channel video. Rise and Fall (2009), elongated projections onto two large, side-by-side screens, is a wordless meditation, set to music, of a woman no longer young but still conscious of her looks; she was clearly a beauty in her youth. As the video proceeds we gather that the young woman pictured on the second screen is the memory of her younger self. They often move through domestic activities (sleeping, bathing, dressing) in parallel; this is inter-cut with scenes of violently rushing water (shot at Niagra Falls, it turns out). It’s a hackneyed metaphor – the water’s endless surging as an image of time’s relentless uni-directionality – but in Tan’s hands that doesn’t seem to matter; she creates extraordinarily emotional work out of simple stories and well-worn themes.