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Art Gallery of Greater Victoria showcases Fiona Tan's installation Ascent
Fiona Tan, Ascent (2016), two-part installation: video, 77 mins; mounted colour photographs. Courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London and Wako Works of Art Tokyo.

VICTORIA, BC.- Beginning on Feb. 16, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria will showcase internationally acclaimed artist Fiona Tan’s installation, Ascent, highlighting Japan’s Mt. Fuji as its central motif.

Ascent, which runs in the AGGV’s Founders and Drury Galleries through June 16, is an installation in two parts; a 77 minute video and the 151 photographs used in the film. It is a study of the mountain’s visual culture, and a tribute to the history of both photography and film, referring also to the tradition of woodblock printmaking, which first made the image of Mt. Fuji iconic.

To make the film, Tan selected and edited a vast number of photographs drawn from the collection of the Izu Photo Museum, which is located at the base of Mt. Fuji, as well as photographs submitted to the artist by the general public.

“In Ascent, the artist explores the relationship between people and the mountain, exploring variously its character as a sacred mountain, as a “famous place” (meisho), and as a landmark to be climbed and conquered,” said AGGV Curator, Haema Sivanesan. “The film is structured as a visual essay, combining image and fictional narrative that alternates between story and history.”

The second part of the exhibition features long wooden shelves holding the photographs that comprise the film, in the order that they appear in the film, arranged as though a filmstrip. The experience of viewing the photographs is quite different from that of the film, inviting the viewer to explore the limit between still and moving images.

Fiona Tan was born in 1966 in Indonesia to an Indonesian-Chinese father and Australian mother. She re-located to Amsterdam in 1984, where she continues to live and work. Her work is widely exhibited in major museums around the world.

Organized in conjunction with upcoming exhibitions, Landscapes of Edo: Ukiyo-e prints from the AGGV Collection and Quiet Nature: The Woodblock Prints of Walter J Phillips, Ascent conveys the enduring significance of the landscape in Japanese culture.

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