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Lisa Tan: Waiting Room of a Psychologist and a Neurologist

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For years, Lisa Tan has researched ways in which images, language, and spaces shape one’s subjectivity. Born in New York and raised in West Texas, she relocated to Stockholm where she works as Professor of Fine Art at Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts, and Design. Creating work with video, photography, text, installation, and other gestures, she regularly draws from literature, literary theory, and the history of photography. Her own experiences of desire, loss, and otherness, fuel explorations into consciousness, the formation of individual subjectivity, and the role that different representations play in shaping a person’s relationship to the world and to others.

For 84 STEPS, Tan presents an existing installation from 2019, including photographs that document the framed art found in the waiting rooms of two different physicians: a psychologist and a neurologist. The images sourced from these waiting rooms are reproductions of paintings and drawings by artists both notable (Leonardo da Vinci, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, and Claude Monet) and otherwise (John Wipp and Terence Warren). The artist regards waiting rooms as an interstitial space par excellence, harboring people in sickness and good health. In their unemotional and distanced documentation, the photographs perform a kind of rehabilitation in which the notion of the waiting room becomes more apparent, as do the lives of the images themselves. Each image has run through a sequence of exchanges since their making, circulating in art’s hierarchies and value systems, before ending up in a waiting room. Presented for this iteration is a series of letters the artist received from her former general physician, Dr Bamberger. Together with Tan’s photographs, they speak to feelings, hypotheses, and insecurities, contemplated within such transient spaces of hope and apprehension.

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