For Every Word Has Its Own Shadow
January 14 – February 21, 2015

These days I live in Stockholm. A place surrounded by water. So I think about the desert a lot. I grew up in one. As a child, the high elevation would set off repeated murder scene-like nosebleeds. I'd lie flat on the kitchen floor waiting for the metallic flavor to stop coating my throat. Now that I think about it, I realize it's that same kitchen floor where I first discovered mercury from a broken thermometer.

Mercury is a transition metal. This has something to do with oxidation states and loss of electrons, but I just want to fixate on the idea that transitions, by definition, exist inside processes of change. They're in between phases, gaps in classification.

The three videos in my exhibition try to give form to the liminal. They narrate my own process of trying to gauge distances of all sorts. I'm probably homesick, yes. But my work is also part of a long chain of experiments that try to make visible the complex processes of consciousness - that unfold in relation to experience and language. Adorno wrote admiringly of Benjamin, "[his] thoughts press close to its object, seek to touch it, smell it, taste it and so thereby transform itself" (Prisms, 240).

In the videos, which were made over a period of nearly four years, I speak through - and have conversations with - enigmatic writers, with close friends, with histories still felt, and with technologies and geographies that I know - in order to mediate those that I don't. I've filmed in places and at times that exist at some threshold. Like where sea meets land, and while traversing above and below the surface of the earth, and during the time when day gives way to night.

Lisa Tan, Stockholm, January 6, 2015


Galleri Riis and Lisa Tan are delighted to present a commissioned text by the Swedish writer and poet Mara Lee. Printed copies will be available at the gallery.

Exhibition dates: 14-January - 21-February, 2015. The gallery will be open until 20:00 (8pm), every Thursday and Friday for the duration of the exhibition. This includes the Thursday on which the exhibition starts; although please note there will not be an opening reception. Regular gallery hours apply for all other days.

Works on view: Waves (2014), 19 minutes, Notes from Underground (2013), 23 minutes,Sunsets (2012), 22 minutes.

Lisa Tan (born 1973, New York, USA) is an artist living in Stockholm. She will be included in the upcoming New Museum Triennial "Surround Audience", New York. Recent exhibitions include: "Sunsets" Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara; "The Mind Was Dreaming", Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin; "Just what is it that makes today so familiar, so uneasy?" LIAF Lofoten International Art Festival, Svolvær; "Duets" at Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon; "Speaking and Thinking", Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm; she co-curated "Cimetière d'Ixelles" with Lisa Oppenheim at Art in General, New York. Tan received her MFA from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She is currently a practice-based PhD at the University of Gothenburg, Valand Academy.


The works in this exhibition were made possible with the support of the University of Gothenburg, Valand Academy and Konstnärliga forskarskolan. Notes From Undergroundwas partially supported by The Swedish Arts Grants Committee.

Lisa Tan extends special thanks to Jonas Dahlberg and to Mara Lee Gerdén.

  Lisa Tan, Galleri Riis, Stockholm