January 23 – March 29, 2020
Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street
Curator: Mona Filip
WINTER OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, January 23, 2020 | 7–9 PM | FREE
Montreal-based artist Karen Tam creates immersive installations that explore the ways in which the embodied presence of a space and the materiality of objects may offer insight into specific places, histories and communities. In her current research, Tam investigates the spatial aesthetics of early 20th century North American Chinese restaurants, opium dens, karaoke lounges and curio shops as sites of cultural blending, interaction, misunderstanding and memory consumption. Using a cultural studies framework, the artist plays off notions of authenticity, recreating venues and producing fake antiques based on East Asian and Chinoiserie objects from various museums, local collections and eBay, using everyday methods and materials such as soap, papier-mâché and aluminum trays. Her intricately detailed installations articulate a lively commentary on the social spaces of cultural interaction, advancing relevant questions regarding race and its visual and material representations. Tam will create a new installation at the Koffler Gallery reimagining the first historical Chinese Canadian photo studios.
Image at top: Karen Tam, Detail from installation, Kiosk for the Silent Traveller, 2018). Installation view, He Xiangning Art Museum.