My Account My Lightboxes Create Account Submissions Guidelines Help
[ ARTIST ARCHIVE ]
  ARTIST PORTFOLIO  
 
Karen Tam
updated: 10/25/2012
website: www.karentam.ca
 
   
 
 
     
 
Artwork Title
art-medium
art-year
dimensions
Click thumbnails for full view:
 
Tchang Tchou Karaoke Lounge
Mash-Up / Pate chinois
Not Made in China!
Detail of, Not Made in China!
LAB 7.3: Pagoda Pads, Opium Den
Comment faire pour y enter sans etre reconnu?...Me deguiser?...
Scorpion's Delight
Snakehead: Vince Noir
Opium Flower Tussle
Dropping elephants from great heights and devouring their carcasses
Genuine American Chop Suey Served With Some Hokey-Pokey!
Chef Lee's First Wok'n'Roll Garden series
MSG / Buddha Health Food & Vegetarian Delight
La poupee chinoise
Jardin Chow Chow Garden: A Divison of Gold Mountain Restaurant
 
Portfolio Keywords:  consumer culture, mimetic, memory, humor, race, collaborative, documentary, conceptual, identity, site-specific
 
 
Tchang Tchou Karaoke Lounge by Karen Tam
Tchang Tchou Karaoke Lounge
Mixed media installation, karaoke videos
2008
178.8" x  132"  x 180" 
Mash-Up / Pate chinois by Karen Tam
Mash-Up / Pate chinois
Paper-cutout
2008
84" x  60" 
Not Made in China! by Karen Tam
Not Made in China!
Vinyl cutout
2008
46" x  54" 
Detail of, Not Made in China! by Karen Tam
Detail of, Not Made in China!
Vinyl cutout
2008
54" x  60" 
LAB 7.3: Pagoda Pads, Opium Den by Karen Tam
LAB 7.3: Pagoda Pads, Opium Den
Mixed media installation, music
2007
285.6" x  150"  x 156" 
Comment faire pour y enter sans etre reconnu?...Me deguiser?... by Karen Tam
Comment faire pour y enter sans etre reconnu?...Me deguiser?...
Wood cutout
2007
84" x  24"  x each" 
Scorpion's Delight by Karen Tam
Scorpion's Delight
Fabric cutout
2007
70" x  64" 
Snakehead: Vince Noir by Karen Tam
Snakehead: Vince Noir
Paper-cutout
2007
52" x  16" 
Opium Flower Tussle by Karen Tam
Opium Flower Tussle
Paper cutout
2007
25" x  34" 
Dropping elephants from great heights and devouring their carcasses by Karen Tam
Dropping elephants from great heights and devouring their carcasses
Paper cutout
2007
126" x  41" 
Genuine American Chop Suey Served With Some Hokey-Pokey! by Karen Tam
Genuine American Chop Suey Served With Some Hokey-Pokey!
Paper cutout
2007
24" x  28" 
Chef Lee's First Wok'n'Roll Garden series by Karen Tam
Chef Lee's First Wok'n'Roll Garden series
Paper cutout
2004-present
Dimensions variable
MSG / Buddha Health Food & Vegetarian Delight by Karen Tam
MSG / Buddha Health Food & Vegetarian Delight
Paper cutout
2006
19" x  15" 
La poupee chinoise by Karen Tam
La poupee chinoise
Paper cutout
2005
14" x  14" 
Jardin Chow Chow Garden: A Divison of Gold Mountain Restaurant by Karen Tam
Jardin Chow Chow Garden: A Divison of Gold Mountain Restaurant
Mixed media installation, videos
2006
588" x  336"  x 168" 

Artist Statement
My work explores cultural identity & authenticity through the genres of installation & video. I am particularly interested in the history of the Chinese Diaspora & its close connection to the emergence of the overseas Chinese restaurant & cuisine in North America.

In installations such as Big Wok (Big Trouble) Café, Gold Mountain Restaurant, & Shangri-la Café, I deconstructed & reconstructed the Chinese restaurant to see which elements signify meaning for the public &, thus, play a role in influencing Western perceptions of the Chinese. These projects have taken on more of a collaborative aspect as I enlist the help of local residents, to recreate a (non-functioning) typical Chinese restaurant. In conjunction with each "restaurant", musical performances & special events were held (for example, “Pirated Movie Night,” “Coffee & Games Night”) to reference the historical role of Chinese restaurants as centers of social life.

Parallel to my interest in the ubiquitous Chinese restaurant is the idea of producing objects to appeal to Western taste. Chinoiserie of the 18th & 19th centuries was developed specifically by & for the European market, leading to the massive export of Chinese goods. Even as the Western market was being flooded with Chinese products, overseas Chinese were targeted by racist laws & deemed unassimilable aliens. The “fear of Chinese” today, while not virulent, is reflected in the media, commenting on China’s rising status as a superpower, its economic strength, & position as the world’s manufacturer. As negative attitudes towards the Chinese are on the rise, we also see a return of the exotic “Far East” in Western popular culture.

Some of my installations have dealt with these issues such as Pagoda Pads—a series of small modern-day chinoiserie rooms. Taking cues from a variety of sources, each space includes must-have exotic accessories & furnishings, as well as photographs, paper-cutouts, & other objects that have a more critical & racist slant.

Artist Bio / CV
Solo Exhibitions
2011 Opium Den, Wilfred Laurier University, Ontario

2008 CUE Arts Foundation, New York

2007 Pagoda Pads, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

2006-08 Traveling exhibition Gold Mountain Restaurant
Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba; YYZ Artists’ Outlet; Forest City Gallery; Artcite; AKA Gallery; Southern Alberta Art Gallery

2005 Big Wok (Big Trouble) Café, Alternator Gallery, Kelowna

2004 Restaurant Montagne d’Or, MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels)
Real-Life Heroes Who Make A Difference, Irish Museum of Modern Art

Selected Group Exhibitions & Screenings
2012-14 Traveling exhibition, Sinopticon, UK venues

2011 China Through the Looking Glass, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK
Round/About, RONDO Studios, Austria

2010 Fourteen Again, Chelsea Art Museum, New York

2009 Traveling show, Pot Luck, UK venues

2008 Bede+Beijing, Jarrow & Sunderland, UK
Quebec Triennial, Musée d’art contemporain, Montréal

2007 The Occidental Artist, NURTUREart, New York
Redress Express
, Centre A, Vancouver

2006 Portraits d’artistes, Conseil des Arts de Montréal
Shaping the Orbit, A Space, Toronto
Orange, Expression, Quebec

2005 Temporal Transmissions screenings. Rotary Centre for the Arts (Kelowna), Eastern Edge Gallery (St. John’s)

2004 Perspectives 2004, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast

2003 Domystique, 11th Street Gallery, Columbia College, Chicago

Residencies
Djerassi Resident Artists Program (California), RONDO Studio Residency (Austria), 501 Artspace (China), Chinese Arts Centre (UK), Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin), Centre A (Vancouver), Expression (Québec),  MAI (Montréal), Khyber Centre for the Arts (Halifax)

Grants & Awards
Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada Fellowship (2008-12)
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (2011. 2007, 2006)
Joseph S. Stauffer Prize, Canada Council for the Arts (2006)
Canada Council for the Arts (2011, 2009, 2006, 2004)

Education
Doctoral candidate, Goldsmiths, University of London
MFA in Sculpture, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
BFA cum laude in Studio Arts, Concordia University