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 Learning Nonhuman (2021) at FACT Liverpool, 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.
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). He teaching experience includes: MA Sculpture Royal College of Art (2011-2013), MA Art & Politics at Goldsmiths (2018), BA (Hons) Sculpture at Brighton University (2012-2016), BA (Hons) Fine Art at Goldsmiths (2015-2017), BA (Hons) Theatre at Roehampton University (2013-2015).
Born in Singapore, 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. 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’s Ph.D at Roehampton University explored legal aesthetics and performance. He will be co-editing a special issue of the Law & Humanities journal in 2022 on art-law practice and processes. He has also taught sculpture at the Royal College of Art and University of Brighton, politics at Goldsmiths and is a tutor in ‘Law as Art’ in the New School of the Anthropocene. Jack is based in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.
View Jack Tan’s CV.
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