This winter, Toronto’s Koffler Gallery presents the chrysanthemum has opened twelve times, a new solo exhibition from Montréal-based artist, Karen Tam.
The exhibition opens with a free public reception on Thursday, January 23, 2019 from 7 to 9 PM. the chrysanthemum has opened twelve times is open from January 23 to March 29, 2020.
Montréal-based artist Karen Tam creates immersive installations exploring the way physical experiences of spaces and objects can provide a deeper understanding of specific places, histories and communities. Her recent projects investigate the spatial aesthetics of early 20th century North American Chinese restaurants, opium dens, karaoke lounges and curio shops as sites of cultural interaction. Playing with notions of authenticity, Tam reimagines venues and their material culture, fabricating detailed sets and fake antiques with everyday methods and ordinary materials, bringing them to life.
At the Koffler Gallery, Tam creates a new series of immersive installations to evoke the early Chinese Canadian and other historical photo studios that served Chinese communities in Canada. Her intricate recreations of portrait studio settings and backdrops integrate found and fabricated objects, archival images, 1940s vinyl recordings of Cantonese opera, and mookyu song performances, revealing layered experiences of immigration, displacement and longing.

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Koffler family FoundationCIBC Wood GundyOntario Arts Council | Conseil Des Arts De L'OntarioToronto Arts Council | Funded by the City of TorontoCanada Council