Commissioned for the President’s Young Talents 2013
Singapore Art Museum

refuge is a reflection of Tan’s identity as an art practitioner and the methodology that has shaped her work in the last ten years. Rooted in the craft of clothing construction and shaped by mathematical principles, method became the primary driving force in her artistic practice, pushing the envelope of what each technique can do and become. Nevertheless, the notion of method is not exclusive as a mechanical and formative medium but also as a tool to abstract and narrate the concept of refuge. In refuge, the idea is realized through the performance of art making with each step and gesture symbolically embedded in the process. Memory is created and revisited in the repetition of familiar sensory nuances of motion, touch, and sight. No longer a mere therapeutic response, refuge is about finding beauty in the mundane and uncertainty. The meaning of making lies in its hidden beauty and ambiguity. Through this revelation, refuge offers a way to question the nature of Tan’s art practice - by looking at its methodology beyond techniques and materiality and formulate new connections and meanings.

Constructed on-site, the artwork is a response to the concept of refuge in its materialization and acquisition of meaning via the process of being formed. With a single unit as a starting point, refuge takes shape via a repetitive action of connecting 1.5 million polypropylene loop pins.

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Photography by Caleb Ming
Installation documentation courtesy of the artist and Joy Abigail Ho