Fiona Tan: Ascent
July 18-October 18, 2016
Izu Photo Museum is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Fiona Tan, an internationally renowned artist working primarily with photography and video. Following three major exhibitions of her work in Japan – at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2013), Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and National Museum of Art Osaka (2014–15) – this exhibition focuses on her new project Ascent, which takes Mt. Fuji as its starting point.
Fiona Tan is best known for her skillfully crafted and intensely moving installations, in which explorations of identity, memory and history are key. Tan’s artworks deal with the question of the gaze – both the way in which we look at images and, through them, at the world that surrounds us, and also the way in which images, like mirrors, sometimes seem to look back at us. Centered on the new audiovisual and photographic installation Ascent, her new solo exhibition at the Izu Photo Museum includes several new works shown for the first time.

Commissioned on the occasion of this exhibition, Tan has created Ascent through a montage of over 4000 found still images of Mt. Fuji from all eras. Images were contributed by the public and were also selected from Izu Photo Museum’s own collection. Ascent is at once a rumination on this singular mountain and its ongoing relationship with human beings, a study of visual culture and a tribute to both photographic and film history. The resulting work considers the intertwinement of visibility and invisibility, distance and proximity. As Tan herself says: “These thousands of images encircle the mountain like a cloud – revealing it and hiding it at the same time.” Fictional narrative combines with documentary images, expanding the boundaries that divide stillness from movement, and pinpointing a unique area where photography and film meet and connect. Echoing the climb to the mountain’s peak, the narrative zigzags across narratives and histories, from ukiyo-e to the Second World War, from Western imperialism to contemporary tourism, from the dawn of photography to the present day.
Ascent unfolds as a contemplative visual essay, reflecting upon the capacities of contemporary digital visual media while referencing iconic films such as Chris Marker’s La Jetée.

Ascent (2016), Fiona Tan, still
Ascent (2016), Fiona Tan, still
Photo:Yamanashi Prefecture

Ascent consists of two parts: an audiovisual installation in the main gallery accompanied by its photographic pendant in the adjacent gallery. The installation screening of Ascent (77 min.) commences every 90 minutes. It is recommended to watch it from the start.
Please note that access to Fiona Tan – Ascent is limited to the following times*: 10.15 am, 11.45 am, 1.15 pm, 2.45 pm, and in July/August also at 4.15 pm.
*We recommend that you reserve your seat in advance by
telephone: Izu Photo Museum +81-55-989-8780

Works in the Exhibition
Ascent (2016) | 2 part HD and photographic installation, bilingual in English and Japanese, Voice-over spoken by Hiroki Hasegawa, Fiona Tan
Hydriotaphia(2016) | sound piece, bilingual in English and Japanese | Spoken by Andrew Bennett
Cloud Study I (2010) | photograph
Cloud Study II (2016) | video installation

About the Artist
Born to a Chinese father and an Australian mother in Indonesia, Fiona Tan spent her childhood in Australia. She studied at Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam and Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam and is currently professor at the Kunsthochschule Kassel. Tan exhibited at the Yokohama Triennale (2001), Documenta 11 (2002), and represented the
Netherlands with a solo presentation in the Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2009. Recent solo exhibitions include Depot at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (2015) and Geography of Time currently at the MUDAM, Luxembourg which will tour in September to the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt.
Her first feature length film History’s Future was nominated for Hivos Tiger Awards and Golden Trailer Awards in 2016.
Ascent (2016), Fiona Tan, still
Photo: mitsuru AsakurA
Ascent (2016), Fiona Tan, still Ascent (2016), Fiona Tan, still
Photo: Takahiro Yamamoto   Photo: Unknown (Collection of
                Izu Photo Museum)

Ascent (2016), Fiona Tan, still
Photo: 遠藤進
Ascent (2016), Fiona Tan, still
Photo: Unknown (Collection of Izu Photo Museum)
Note: Credits beneath the images appear as provided by the contributors to Ascent

Related Events
・ Screening of Fiona Tan’s film: Kingdom of Shadows
Details will be posted on the museum website:
・ Gallery Talks by the Curator
The curator will provide commentary on the exhibition.
Date/Time: August 13 (Sat), September 10 (Sat), October 8 (Sat) at 2:15 pm (approx. 20 minutes)
Free (exhibition ticket required).
Please gather at the museum entrance counter. No booking necessary.
Fiona Tan: Ascent Mt. Fuji Project

Related Publications
① Artist’s book
The artist’s book Fiona Tan – Ascent will be co-published by Izu Photo Museum and De Pont Museum in July 2016 (distributed by Nohara).
Contributors: David Campany, Toshiharu Ito, Shinichi Takemura, Fiona Tan
② Exhibition booklet
An exhibition booklet will be published by Izu Photo Museum in July 2016.
©Fiona Tan
Artist’s book, Fiona Tan: Ascent
Exhibition booklet, Fiona Tan: Ascent

Organized by Izu Photo Museum Fiona Tan: Ascent is supported by the Netherland Embassy, Mondriaan Fund and the Netherlands Film Fund
In co-operation with Wako Works of Art