Sarah Isabelle TAN

About The Artist

Sarah Isabelle Tan (b. 1995) is a visual artist whose work delves into the ontology of the photographic, navigating the realms of the tangible and intangible. Working across still and moving images and printmaking, she is particularly interested in the materiality of the photograph and its (re)representation of things. Negotiating personal encounters of loss and memory, her practice is driven by a sense of open-endedness. She was trained in photography at the London College of Communication, graduating in 2019. Her work has been published in The British Journal of Photography, and has been exhibited in London and Singapore.

Sarah Isabelle TAN

"The work stages an encounter with a lost material presence, situating itself as a photographic image in the digital age as I confront its connection to the real, a return to the pre-digital era."

A Flower and Traces of My Fingertips (1/2)

A Flower and Traces of My Fingertips (1/2)

A Flower and Traces of My Fingertips (2/2)

A Flower and Traces of My Fingertips (2/2)

About The Artwork

A Flower and Traces of My Fingertips

Digital Scan of a print on silver gelatin fibre paper

Sarah Tan’s practice recuperates the physical object-hood of the photograph, which even today is retreating ever further into obsolescence, in the face of technological advancements that have allowed for its dematerialization. Here, the pair of diminutive images were produced as a single, camera-less photogram, an early image-making process premised merely on the interaction of light and chemicals - most notably utilized by Man Ray in his so-dubbed “rayographs.” This sense of materiality was then displaced by digitally scanning the print. The work is ontologically double - both image and object, tangible yet remote, produced as a material print and recreated as digital specters, at once seizing and reversing the ephemerality of lived experience. As the artist remarks, “The work stages an encounter with a lost material presence, situating itself as photographic image in the digital age as I confront its connection to the real, a return to the pre-digital era. As an unfixed material print, it renders the state of the image inconstant and transient. Its physicality and tactility take on a new significance, now encountered in the halation of our digital screens. The work disrupts digital dominance through its process, and yet ironically parallels the sense of digital temporality through its nature.”

Julius Baer Next Generation Investment Theme

Digital Disruption