ABOUT

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 campaigning work. He then studied ceramics, obtaining a BA from the University of Westminster and an MA from the Royal College of Art. He is currently pursuing a PhD in the Department for Drama, Theatre and Performance at the University of Roehampton, London, where he is researching performance and legal aesthetics.

Recent projects include 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, and presented papers at symposia and conferences at the University of Leeds and University of Cambridge. He was the Special Projects Curator for fig-2, a year-long series of 50 exhibitions in 50 weeks at the ICA London, and is currently on the advisory panel for the Object Positions curatorial programme at The Showroom Gallery London.

Jack’s teaching experience includes among others: 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).

Short Bio

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Jack Tan, ‘Art School Surgery’ (2015), durational performance (detail) in ‘How to do things with rules’ exhibition, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore. photo: truphotos.com

Jack uses law, social norms and customs as a way of making art. He creates performances, performatives, sculpture, video 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 Karaoke Court (2014-ongoing) a singing dispute resolution process, 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.

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