On view in London for the first time, this multi-projection installation invites viewers to consider museum collections as well as the human compulsion to capture the transience of time and lived experience. Filmed at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, Inventory presents intimate details of the celebrated architect’s personal collection housed in one of the most unique public museums in the world. This multi-channel video installation is structured as a large-scale montage of six projections simultaneously displayed on one wall in an uneven grid. Each individual projection shows details of the crammed interiors of the museum containing a multiplicity of ancient architectural fragments and sculptures.
A contemplative visual essay, Inventory explores Tan’s preoccupation with time, memory, and place, and is as much a meditation on the human impulse to collect as a reflection on Tan’s artistic practice to date. In recording the idiosyncratic collection of Sir John Soane using a variety of mediums (Super 8, 16, and 35 millimeter film, and analog, digital, and high-definition video), the artist challenges the viewer to reconsider ideas such as representation, perception, and history while contemplating the resilience of a medium associated with a contemporary artistic production. With its synchronized presentation, the installation engenders a sense of disorientation and déjà vu – a playful mimesis of the experience a visitor might have wandering the crowded rooms of Soane’s Museum itself. Simultaneously Tan’s sustained reflection on the carrier of the image alludes to the fleetingness inherent in these filmed registrations.