Fiona Tan

2023.2.10(Fri.) – 4.1(Sat.) 11:00 - 18:00
* Closed on Sun., Mon. and national holidays

Reception for the artist
2.10(Fri.) 17:00 – 19:00

Wako Works of Art is pleased to announce Suri, the gallery’s 9th solo exhibition of the work of Netherlands artist Fiona Tan, which will be on view from Fri., February 10 to Sat., April 1, 2023.

The show features Tan’s recent video works Archive (2019) and Pickpocket (2020). All of these works are on view in Japan for the first time.

[Related Exhibition]
the Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions 2023
2023.2.3(Fri.) - 2.19(Sun.)
Exhibited work: Lift (2000)


It is with great pleasure that Wako Works of Art presents Suri, the gallery’s ninth solo exhibition by the Netherlands-based video and film artist Fiona Tan, on view from Friday, February 10 to Saturday, April 1, 2023. The exhibition, which was postponed due to the pandemic, features a total of four video works, Archive (2019) and three works from the Pickpockets series (2020), all of which are being shown in Japan for the first time. In addition, Technicolor Dreaming, a photographic series produced in 2022, will be exhibited for the first time anywhere.

Fiona Tan (1968 -) is known for video and photographic works that incorporate temporal and spatial manipulations. Often these feature found photos originating from ordinary people which Tan has reconfigured and invigorated in elaborate and unexpected ways. In Tan’s works in which sequences of fragmented still images become motion pictures, distinctions between photography and film are blurred, introducing new perspectives to the ways we perceive time itself. Time is also a key element in each of the series shown in this exhibition.

Archive (2019) is a 4K digital video piece inspired by the Mundaneum, a plan for a universal archive undertaken by Paul Otlet (1868 – 1944), the father of information science. After meticulously researching historical materials on Otlet, Tan devised fictional architecture for the archive based on her own interpretation of his unrealized utopian vision, and with the help of experts, brought it to life in the present day as a painstakingly constructed 3D video. Otlet’s visionary plan was to collect all of humanity’s knowledge at a single site, archive that information by sorting it hierarchically and spatially, and systematize “visual thinking” as a part of people’s daily lives. To give concrete form to Otlet’s vision, Tan drew up a circular floor plan and created a computer-graphic rendering of a colossal building based on it, which she presents as a video work. The Mundaneum, which today could be called “Google on paper,” was a milestone that can be seen as prefiguring cyberspace, and parts of the unfinished project are still stored in an archive in Belgium. The distinctive cabinets appearing in the video, which still exist in that archive, contain a vast number of index cards. Otlet, who lived through the two world wars, was also known for his achievements in peace activism, and believed that integrating all human wisdom and making it universally accessible would bring about peace and point the way to an ideal world. The early 20th century, when Otlet lived, was an era when it was thought that the world was finite, and that complete knowledge of it would lead to progress for humankind.

Shadow Archive (2019) is a photographic series in which the virtual architectural spaces of Archive, generated with computer graphics, are captured on paper using 19th-century photogravure techniques. The cohabitation of antique methodologies and the latest 3D-modeled imagery in this work disrupts our concept of time, obscures the boundaries between fantasy and reality, and delivers a novel viewing experience.

Pickpockets (2020) is a multi-channel video installation based on documentary photographs of pickpockets arrested at the Paris World’s Fair of 1889. Fictional monologues created by Tan and a team of scriptwriters serve as voice-overs for still portraits of actual pickpockets. Tan encountered this material during a residency at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, and inspired by the gaze of each of the arrested petty criminals and their unknowable lives, gave each one of them a story. Of this series, Tan says she “stole the faces and voices of the pickpockets.” Imagined words, artfully superimposed on the archived antique portrait photographs, strike the viewer with a compelling sense of reality. The series consists nine works to date, with each of the pickpockets telling their stories in various languages including English, French, German, and Scots, in keeping with their origins. Three will be on view in this exhibition.

Technicolor Dreaming (2022), which makes its global debut here, is a photographic work produced in conjunction with the video installation Footsteps (2022), in which letters from Tan’s father are read in voice-overs superimposed on video footage constructed from Dutch ethnohistorical records in the collection of the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam. Inspired by early filmmakers’ pursuit of color, the series eschews the notion of technical perfection in favor of Tan’s intuitive handling of subtle coloring on top of photogravure images.


Winter holidays

2022.12.25 - 2023.1.5

New publication
WAKO WORKS OF ART Text series vol.8

An Artist of kage / Schein: The Biopolitical Artwork of Gerhard Richter

* In Japanese only
Tanaka Jun
19 x 13 cm
128 pages
Published by : Wako Works of Art Co., Ltd.

Chapter1: Atlas: Maps and the Work of Melancholy
Chapter2: Birkenau: The Crypt of Es
Chapter3: October 18, 1977: The Orpheus Complex
Chapter4: Birkenau revisited: The Biopolitics of kage / Schein

Catalogue available
Gerhard Richter Drawings 2018-2022 and Elbe 1957

* Written only in Japanese. English insert coming soon.
[Gerhard Richter Exhibition catalogue]
20 x 18.5 cm
84 pages (52 colour plates)

Contributors: Dieter Schwarz, Minoru Shimizu
Published by: Wako Works of Art Co., Ltd.

Past Exhibitions

Henk Visch, Joan Jonas
Gallery Show

Room 1
2022.11.12 (Sat.) – 12.23 (Fri.)
12:00 - 18:00
* Closed on Sun., Mon. and national holidays
* Temporarily closed for construction. 2022.11.27 (Sun.) - 12.2 (Fri.)

Gregor Schneider, Yuji Takeoka

Room 2
2022.09.17 (Sat.) – 11.26(Sat.)
12:00 - 18:00
* Closed on Sun., Mon. and national holidays

Gerhard Richter
Drawings 2018-2022 and Elbe 1957

2022.6.11 (Sat.) - 7.30 (Sun.)
* Closed on Sun. Mon. Holidays

Wako Works of Art is pleased to announce Drawings 2018-2022 and Elbe 1957, the gallery’s 12th solo exhibition of the work of German artist Gerhard Richter, which will be on view from Sat., June 11 to Sat., July 30, 2022.


The show features 18 of Richter’s most recent drawings, from 2018 to 2022, and an edition of a set of 31 prints, Elbe [Editions CR: 155], created 65 years ago. All of these works are on view in Japan for the first time.


Each of the 18 drawings are inscribed with dates, which serve as the titles of the works. These abstract drawings in pencil, graphite, and ink give the impression of core elements extracted from Richter’s complex, multi-layered oil paintings, while their compositions fully embody the unique charm of drawings.

The 31-part series Elbe, which will be exhibited alongside the artist’s latest drawings, is an edition of monotype prints made in 1957 (when he was 25 years old), the year after he graduated from the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. Richter left the works with a friend when he departed East Germany in 1961, and they were editioned in 2012 through high-resolution shooting. The use of a rubber roller, the balance between landscape, figure, and abstraction, and many other elements of Richter’s style that would be refined in later years can be seen in this extremely valuable set of early works.

These two sets of works by Gerhard Richter, very early prints and the very latest drawings, were made 65 years apart. We are delighted to offer this rare opportunity to view them side by side.

Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter was born in Dresden in 1932, where he lived until 1961, studying first at the Kunstakademie, Dresden from 1951-1956, and then at the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf, from 1961-1963.


He has been the recipient of numerous distinguished awards, including the Staatspreis of the State Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, in 2000; the Praemium Imperiale Award, Japan, 1997; the Golden Lion of the 47th Biennale, Venice, 1997; the Kaiserring Prize der Stadt Goslar, Germany, 1988; and the Oskar Kokoschka Prize, Vienna, 1985.

Gerhard Richter has been the subject of numerous important solo exhibitions, most recently at the Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany (through May 29, 2016); the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Germany (2015); the Foundation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland (2014); the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2014); and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany (2013). Since the 1960s he has shown internationally and has had a number of traveling retrospective shows including most recently Panorama at the Tate Modern, London, the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Exhibition poster available

Design: Shin Sobue