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Chintz

Erika Tan
1997/2001

audience interactive sound installation

Chintz

The title 'Chintz' referenced the particular wallpaper design found in the drawing room space in Pitshanger Manor Museum.

The installation was set up to respond to this particular site, using the historical references present within the space to explore both general and personal ideas of contemporary relations to 'empire'.

Although initially developed as a site responsive work which focussed on the Victorian history of the building and associated Victorian 'taste' in Chinoiserie, the work has since toured and mutated, emphasising a pervasiveness to these cultural appropriations and inhibitions. In its various permutations (Chintz, From China to Chintz, 'east') the work has strived to keep a narrow balance between revealing and obscuring information, history and meaning: a balance that navigates a path between beauty and pain; the atmospheric and the real; the poetic and the literal. A work that rests on histories of translation, its re-siting has also been a form of further taxing its readings.

Installation using sound, video projection, Chintz wallpaper, bird cages, tea chests, tea, lavender essence, Asian bird song, P.I.R. detectors.

Commissioned by Alana Jelinek and Juliette Brown, Terra Incognita for Empire & I

First shown at Empire & I, Pitshanger Manor, Ealing Broadway, London.

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