austin,-tx

View of “Lisa Tan,” 2010. Foreground: National Geographic, 2009. Background: Letters from Dr. Bamberger, 2001–.

Lisa Tan

The Contemporary Austin | Jones Center

View of “Lisa Tan,” 2010. Foreground: National Geographic, 2009. Background: Letters from Dr. Bamberger, 2001–.

“Two Birds, Eighty Mountains, and a Portrait of the Artist,” a picturesque summation of the works in Lisa Tan’s exhibition at Austin’s recently renovated Arthouse, seemed a funny title for such a predominantly text-based show. But it certainly touched on a signature aspect of her work—that the message it communicates is often more complicated than it first appears. For the past decade, Tan’s conceptually rigorous output has frequently been read in terms of intimacy and its attendant themes––desire, attachment, loss, longing––but rare is the discussion that delineates her key insight, which emphasizes not intimacy as such but its possibility, and the fact that it is always present and ever changing. This compact selection of the artist’s recent work, including two ongoing pieces, opened up that conversation while pointing to another operation common in Tan’s practice (and

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