“If you can dream a better world” is presented in two components: an imagined island sculpture and three music boxes. Melissa Tan photographed the surfaces of pavements, paths, walkways and roads across Singapore, capturing the subtle nuances and traces of time that have been left behind and ‘recorded’ onto them. She then transferred the ‘data points’ of the indentations, depressions, bulges and protrusions onto paper and metal, before performing the meticulous task of incising into these materials, thus producing a composition of impressions made of the physical features found on these surfaces. The activation of Tan’s music boxes, where strips of perforated paper are fed through the combs of the music boxes, will in time mirror the physical attributes of the built surfaces that crisscross the island of Singapore; in time they too will face their own man-made ‘erosion’ as the paper starts to wear and its fibres become strained and tenuous.
Melissa Tan (b. 1989, Singapore) is a visual artist based in Singapore and received her BA (Fine Arts) from Lasalle College of the Arts in 2011. Her works are based on nature, themes of transience and beauty of the ephemeral. Her recent projects revolve around landscapes and the process of formation. Interested in geography and textures of rocks, she explores to translate the visual language through different mediums. Employing processes such as paper cutting, painting and silk-screen techniques, she is interested in materiality and how the medium supports the work. Though trained as a painter, she also works with video, sound and objects.