Tan Jing: Inlet of Arid Dreams 谭婧：旱梦滩
2023年 11月 8日 – 2024年 2月 25日
Inlet of Arid Dreams is the first institutional solo exhibition of Tan Jing, a native of Shenzhen, China, known for her experimentation with unconventional materials across sculpture, installation, and moving images. Her work explores the multi-layered narratives between reality and fiction, often combines elements of folklore, organic materials, and personal memoirs. For Inlet of Arid Dreams, presented in the museum’s 2nd floor Gallery, Tan Jing brings major new works, including the four-channel video installation titled Nook of a Hazy Dream (2023) and the soft fabric scented sculpture The Souvenir (2023), both commissioned by the Rockbund Art Museum for this exhibition.
Smell plays a distinctive role in Tan Jing’s art. Olfactory memories, unlike verbal recollections, cannot be easily rewritten. She incorporates these sensory memories tied to identity and locality into her sculptural works. Whether it’s the pungent aroma recalling Southeast Asian cuisine waiting from green tiles, or the fragrance of Thai talcum powder emanating from fabric flowers that acts as a reminder of grandparents (Floor Tiles and Flowers, 2023). Such intersection between the olfactory and the visual takes us on a journey from her ancestral Lingnan residence in search of Lap Hung.
Lap Hung is a character Tan Jing has constructed based on the figure of her grandfather, who re-migrated from Thailand to China in 1956. In the new four-channel video installation Nook of a Hazy Dream (2023), Lap Hung’s spirit returns to his imagined native place. Since 2019, Tan Jing has been visiting her relatives and the Chinese diaspora community in Bangkok, Thailand, recording the histories narrated by her elders. In this video work, disappearing memories converge in varying languages; they weave dialogues of the past, the future, and the present world, constructing the narrative of the film. The interplay of light and shadow sheds on glass screens, which serve as windows that open to a dreamscape.
“Inlet of Arid Dreams” is a place that exists in Tan Jing’s imagination. It refers to a transitional realm between arrival and return, reality and illusion. Here, personal desires are stranded in the landscape of memory. The artist aims to fathom these life experiences and pose questions: when dealing with diasporic individuals, how can we comprehend the complexity of their identity and emotions? What are the alternatives to the silent suppression of feelings when traumatic experiences is confronted?