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Aram Tanis, born in Korea and grown up in The Netherlands, started wondering about his own memories after making the short documentary Departure Bay. On his website Aram Tanis writes: "The first time I went to the Netherlands from Korea has been a while ago. I was on my way to another life, a Western life with an unknown future ahead.


The sleeves had to be rolled up. I was only allowed to touch my homework and the desk I was sitting at. I wasn’t allowed to touch my hair, face or other ‘clean’ stuff. There were also times when I did my homework downstairs. The rules were just as strict. The table top consisted of 12 tiles in length and 8 tiles in width. My homework had to stay within 6 by 4 tiles."


During his work period at Stichting IK, located in Zeeland, Tanis started working on Going Back to Where I Used to Stand, which deals with this given that memories change colour and shape over a period of time. He remembers the allotment garden of his grandpa and connects these thoughts with images from Asia, including his recent visits to Japanese traditional gardens. In the fungus he found a natural shape that fascinates him and that he used as a metaphor for the gardens.


In one of the works he combines a real, conserved and painted fungus with a self-made one. You don't see the difference. It's also unclear if the pieces of fruit placed next to it are real or not. The light blue base has something of a pillow. You can associate it with a dream or thought. But it is 'damaged': at some places the - white - inside is visible.


Tanis shows us more intriguing sculptures. A hand-made round green object with a chasen, coloured with ink, sticking out of it. A chasen is used during traditional tea ceremonies in Korea and Japan. A pedestal with two twigs of coral, mirrored in a square brass plate, is a subtle monument to the beauty of (exotic) nature. In the space there is also a stack of brick like objects, reminiscent of the colour of air and sea. Each "stone" is in principle a memory, but there is also space left between them ...


All in all, this is an exhibition that does not reveal itself in a few seconds. But if you take the time, the artist lets you ponder over beautiful and less beautiful memories. The ranking of Tanis' meticuleus stacked objects, and especially his sharp, prudent way of looking provides beautiful still lives and shows you works you do not quickly forget. And is that not what art is all about?

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Clay, Fungus, Paint, Pigment, Plaster

Chasen, Ink, Pigment, Plaster

Brass, Coral, Plaster

Fungus, Paint, Pigment

Fossil, Fungus, Ink, Paint, Pigment, Plaster

Pigment, Plaster

Going Back to Where I Used to Stand


Edition 11

Pieter and Marieke Sanders Collection





During his working period at Stichting IK, Tanis focused on how desires, experiences and memories change colour and shape over time. A year ago, he collaborated with Jacolijn Verhoef to create Departure Bay, a short documentary about his father, who talks about his memories of how he, as an 8-year old boy, experienced the 1953 water flooding in Zeeland. As a result, Tanis began to think about his own memories in a different way. Working for several months in Zeeland - how appropriate - was a great opportunity to start his new project.

Going Back to Where I Used to Stand has been exhibited at Stichting IK (Oost-Souburg / NL), Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (Amsterdam / NL) and MoMart (Amsterdam / NL).