As part of Erika Tan’s Stanley Picker Fellowship project Barang-Barang, a series of workshops and tours are taking place at Stanley Picker Gallery and our partner venue, Dorich House Museum.
Commencing at Stanley Picker Gallery, tour group visitors will enjoy refreshments , introductions to the gallery and a guided tour of the exhibition, led by gallery staff. You will then take a taxis to Dorich House Museum for the second stage of the tour, taking in Erika’s onsite interventions as well as the remarkble building and collections. Following this we can arrange transport back to the Gallery or welcome you to remain onsite for a continued wander and to enjoy the museum cafe.
Gallery location & Accessibility
Stanley Picker Gallery is a full accessible venue, situated on a small island on the Hogsmill River, behind Kingston School of Art, an approx. 10-minute walk from Kingston Town Centre. We have free onsite parking. For directions visit www.stanleypickergallery.org/about/visit/
Museum location & Accessibility
The Museum is on Kingston Vale, close to Robin Hood Roundabout on the A3 and has limited free onsite parking. It is on 85 and K3 bus routes, stop Woodview Close. The Museum is located over four floors. There are 78 steps to the top floor, which is accessed via a narrow staircase. The Museum currently has no wheelchair accessible toilets. We apologise that we are unable to offer full access for all physical abilities at this time. Kingston University is working to improve access for all visitors. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions in advance of your visit.
More about the exhibition
Barang-Barang is a multi-faceted installation containing collected objects, materials and moving-image works produced over the course of Erika Tan’s Stanley Picker Fellowship. The project explores the value and relevance given to the material traces and afterlives of objects made, collected, discarded or valued by others, responding to local specificities, personal collections and historical connections that the artist encountered, from coconut coir mills in Kingston upon Thames to the speculative entanglements that she weaves between different events, places and people, including that of her mother Fay Tan.
Barang-Barang is a Malay word used colloquially in Singapore to mean ‘stuff’, ‘belongings’ or ‘freight’. In Khmer the word means ‘French’ and in Thai a similar sounding ‘farang’ is used for ‘stranger’, ‘foreigner’ or ‘white person’, but also to describe things that are imported. In the Cebuano language of the Philippines barang means ‘mythology’, ‘magic’ or ‘malignant sorcery’.
Whilst commencing her Fellowship research, Tan was immediately drawn to the history of the Stanley Picker Gallery’s physical location, on an island along the Hogsmill River that is the former site of an old water mill that once processed coconut coir for domestic and commercial use. For Tan the coconut itself provides a potent symbol of the diasporic experience, the history of its applications as a material and culinary ingredient representing an illustrative critique of global cultural exchange.
The exhibition focuses on the legacies of four female artists – Dora Gordine, Georgette Chen, Kim Lim and Fay Tan – who are brought together in filmic space to explore aspects of their lives. There is no evidence, as yet, that these women ever met, but Tan’s work imagines their possible conversations and interactions as artists and as women.
The main moving image work for the exhibition was filmed on location at Dorich House Museum, the former studio-home designed by Gordine herself in the 1930s. The house provides the setting for a speculative encounter between the four artists, who are brought together by Tan through what she describes as an “imagined constellation of celestial art historical references that stretch conventional understandings of time and space, geographical location and historical veracity”.
To accompany the Gallery exhibition, Tan has also intervened in the permanent collection displays at Dorich House Museum, requesting that Dora Gordine’s bronze heads of unidentified Asian subjects be turned to face away from visitors. At the Museum entrance a video of Gordine’s bust of Chia-Chu Chang (1925-26) sits across from Gordine’s own self-portrait (1930-32), the artist and her subject reconnected in a direct visual dialogue.
Barang-Barang continues Tan’s interest in ‘minor’ histories and a process of entanglement that the making of a work can foster. The project draws lines between disparate moments in time, individuals and geographical locations to find new positions and perspectives, not only through the specifics of these histories and individuals, but also the way in which we might understand larger or more known/received histories.
Barang-Barang was commissioned by the Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University and supported by the Stanley Picker Trust and Arts Council England. The project was previewed at Taipei Fine Arts Museum as part of Art Histories of a Forever War – Modernism Between Space and Home (Nov 21-Feb 22) in advance of its premiere at Stanley Picker Gallery accompanied by a display at Dorich House Museum, Kingston University. A limited-edition artist book is being produced to accompany the exhibition.
Erika Tan is an artist and curator whose work is primarily research-led and manifests itself in multiple formats such as moving image, publications, curatorial and participatory projects. Appointed to the Stanley Picker Fellowships at Kingston University in 2018, she is Course Leader of the MA in Fine Art, Reader in Contemporary Art Practice in Central Saint Martins and an Associate Researcher in the Decolonising Art Institute, UAL (London). Tan’s most recent research has focused on the postcolonial and transnational, working with archival artifacts, exhibition histories, received narratives, contested heritage, subjugated voices and the transnational movement of ideas, people and objects; her future projects point towards the digitization of collective cultural memory and cloud architecture through the prism of ruins, hauntings, and mnemonic collapse. Tan’s work has been exhibited, collected and commissioned internationally including: The Diaspora Pavilion (Venice Biennale 2017); Artist and Empire (Tate Touring, National Gallery Singapore 2016/7); Come Cannibalise Us, Why Don’t You (NUS Museum, Singapore 2014); There Is No Road (LABoral, Spain 2010); Thermocline of Art (ZKM, Germany 2007); Around The World in Eighty Days (South London Gallery / ICA 2007); The Singapore Biennale (2006); Cities on the Move (Hayward Gallery, London). Recent curatorial projects include Sonic Soundings/Venice Trajectories.