Jack makes work that explores the connection between the social, the legal and art. Using social relations and cultural norms as material, he creates performances, performatives, sculpture, video and participatory projects that highlight the rules — customs, rituals, habits and theories — that guide human behaviour.
Prior to becoming an artist, Jack trained as a lawyer and worked in civil litigation as well as in NGOs undertaking human rights case, policy and anti-racist campaigning work. He then studied ceramics, obtaining a BA from the University of Westminster and an MA from the Royal College of Art. In 2020, Jack completed his Ph.D in legal aesthetics and performance at the University of Roehampton, Dept of Drama, Theatre and Performance.
Recent projects include Four Legs Good (2018) a revival of the medieval animal trials for Compass Festival Leeds and V&A London; Voices from the Courts (2016) a Singapore Biennale presentation and residency at the State and Family Justice Courts of Singapore exploring legal vocality; Karaoke Court (2014-ongoing) a legally-binding karaoke dispute resolution process; Law’s Imagination (2016) a curatorial residency on legal aesthetics at arebyte; his solo exhibition How to do things with rules (2015) at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore; A kiss is just a kiss (2014), a performance exploring kissing and reconciliation at the Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva), London; The Office of Public Ritual (2014–ongoing), an artists’ collective and bespoke ritual design service; and Closure (2012), a year-long residency and exhibition at the UK Department for Health, which documented the legal dissolving of a social work quango.
Jack has also written articles and essays on sculpture, ceramics and political aesthetics for publications such as Ceramic Review and 3rd Dimension Sculpture Magazine. He was the Special Projects Curator for fig-2, a year-long series of 50 exhibitions in 50 weeks at the ICA London, and has also curated shows for Wiltshire Creative (Salisbury) and arebyte (London).
Jack was the 2017/18 inaugural Art & Politics Fellow at the Dept of Politics and International Relations, Goldsmiths College. His teaching experience also includes: Tutor at MA Sculpture Royal College of Art (2011-2013), and Visiting Lecturer at BA (Hons) Sculpture at Brighton University (2012-2016), BA (Hons) Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London University (2015-2017), BA (Hons) Theatre at Roehampton University (2013-2015). Jack is also a Trustee of the Scottish Sculpture Workshop and a founding editor of the Art Law Journal.
Born in Singapore, Jack spent his primary school years in London where his parents ran a haberdashery shop in Brixton Market. Jack is based in Galloway, Southwest Scotland.
Jack uses law, social norms and customs as a way of making art. He creates performances, sculpture and participatory projects that highlight the rules that guide human behaviour. Jack trained as a lawyer and worked in civil rights NGOs before becoming an artist. His Ph.D research was in legal aesthetics and performance at the University of Roehampton. Recent projects include Four Legs Good (2018) a revival of the medieval animal trials for Compass Festival Leeds and V&A London; his Singapore Biennale presentation Voices From The Courts examining the vocality of the State Courts of Singapore (2016), Law’s Imagination (2016) a curatorial residency at arebyte exploring legal aesthetics; his solo exhibition How to do things with rules (2015) at the ICA Singapore; and Closure (2012), a year-long residency and exhibition at the UK Department for Health looking at the liquidation of their social work quango. Jack has also taught sculpture at the Royal College of Art and University of Brighton, and politics at Goldsmiths. Jack is currently a board member of the Scottish Sculpture Workshop and a founding editor of the Art Law Journal.
View Jack Tan’s CV.
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