Gallery Jones presents Memories & Fetishes, a solo exhibition of artwork by Brendan Lee Satish Tang. The show pairs sculptural work from the artist’s Manga Ormolu series with a new series of Joss Paper wall-hangings. Amid a thematic current of hybridity that underlies much of Tang’s work, the exhibition invites the viewer to consider the roles of memory and fetish attached to objects, and the irresolution involved in letting them go. The widely acclaimed Manga Ormolu series has been in process for over a decade. With it, Tang enters the dialogue on remix, cultural appropriation and transformation in an increasingly hyper connected world. Combining visual influences from Japanese comics and toys with Ming vessels recalling the 18th century European tradition of gilded ormolu, Tang’s delicately crafted ceramic objects reveal an aesthetic saturated with pop-culture while nodding to art history. With the Manga Ormolu series, the artist positions his work between dualities—art versus craft, high versus low art—and in the process reaches in to expose his own individual history, interests and motives. Tang’s new Joss Paper series consists of curious paper objects mounted on wood panel and displayed behind an acrylic case. Painted with watercolour, these shapes resemble belongings revered and fetishized by the artist in childhood—among them an ET Atari game, a VHS titled “They Called Me Bruce” and a Nintendo Gameboy. Beside each carefully displayed rendering lies a single porcelain match, hinting at destruction.
Joss paper is traditionally used in Chinese Buddhist ancestral worship. Loved ones present burnt offerings (sometimes referred to as “ghost money”) to the deceased to take into the afterlife. In this new series, Tang investigates the nostalgic pull of objects fetishized with a kind of spiritual reverence in childhood. Using the conventions of high art, he elevates these banal and outdated
objects to transcendent status, provoking thought around the value of the memories wrapped into objects, and the action of burning as a cultural ritual of releasing or moving on.
Brendan Lee Satish Tang has been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in Quebéc, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the International Museum of Ceramic in Faenza, Italy and many other public museums. Tang was short-listed for the Sobey Prize and a finalist for the Loewe Craft Prize. He has been profiled by The Knowledge Network,
the Canadian Broadcasting Company, and featured in printed publications including The National Post, Wired (UK and Italy), and ELLE (Canada). Tang’s work can be found in such collections as the Seattle Art Museum, the Ariana Musée in Geneva, Canada House in London (UK), the Art Bank of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Canadian Museum of History, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Bank of Montréal and the Canadian Consulate in Beijing.