Fiona Tan – voice of the people?

Fiona Tan’s latest commission has been to add to her Vox Populi series by targeting London. Although none of the photographs was made by her, her installation of 265 images was on display at the Photographers’ Gallery, London until 30 September 2012 (I have to use the past tense due to my tardiness in keeping my blog up-to-date).

part of Fiona Tan's Vox Populi, London

part of Fiona Tan’s Vox Populi, London

The photographs were donated by members of the public and cover a 50-year span. Individually, not many have merit beyond the sentimental value to the owner.  Some are vulgar, others funny or poignant,   but put together by Fiona Tan they acquire an entirely new meaning; they form a fictional life story of anybody and nobody in particular.  The story could be about an individual or a whole city (obviously in this case, London).  It is definitely London-specific though, the story doesn’t work for other areas of the UK. But that’s OK. Fiona has approached the artwork with an outsider’s view of London and by restricting it geographically has made it manageable and successful.

Fiona Tan has the knack of taking the personal and making it universal. I look forward to seeing more of her work sometime.

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