FIONA TAN AND HER TRIP TO THE FAR EAST

Portrait of Fiona Tan

 

 

Fiona Tan, born in Sumatra in 1966, she is an audiovisual artist of recognized prestige worldwide. In 1988 she moved to the Netherlands. She’s origins, of Chinese father and Australian mother, make that she herself considers a "professional foreigner". This idea is present in her work. Her personal and strongly marked style goes from photography to film to video art. The alternation of these techniques shows a reflection of colonial society in the East. The artist focuses especially on the myths and legends of this postcolonial and globalized culture.

 

 

Fiona Tan Desoriente (Disorient), 2009. Installation of digital video of two channels

 

 

Tan, created this magnificent work of art for the Dutch pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale, taking advantage of the fact that the city appears in the filming. In fact it plays a very important role since the documentary reflects how Venice was one of the strategic points for the realization of the trips in the XI and XIV towards the Far East. It evokes the dream of a "Great Far East" described by Marco Polo as a source of inspiration for so many stories and works of art.

 

 

Installation of Fiona Tan, Collecting and classifying, beyond the document

 

 

In the installation of Desoriente, as in others that he has exposed, the main work is two screens where narrates his particular vision on the subject to deal in question. With a masculine voice, which whispers fragments of the voyages of Marco Polo, this confronted vision of the East is completed. In one of the screens, the larger of the two, shows an anachronistic succession of objects and thematic memories, facing that screen images of the contemporary life of the Asian continent.

 

 

Rise and Fall, 2009, two-channel video installation. Photo by Per Kristiansen, Stockholm. Courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London

 

 

The juxtaposition of these two screens, apparently without anything in common but intimately connected, suggests to the viewer a certain sense of disorientation. The artist transforms the cultural memory and the modern myth and transports it to our days with a reconstruction of the Marco Polo’s Asia. You can enjoy this installation until March 19.

 

 

 

If visual arts arouse emotions in the viewer, and also gastronomy, at its finest, can cause a similar effect, the relationship between both "disciplines" is more than demonstrated.

Cheese is a fundamental piece in gastronomy, its diversity allows it to be part of gastronomy different moments, from starters to desserts, and that is why Art Madrid includes it in this year’s edition of the Fair from an ambitious place. Cheese is given this way a closest view to the creation of a work of art, both from the point of view of the time spent in its execution process and the almost personalized study dedicated to each piece during its elaboration.

Like a plastic artist, the Cheese Master Affineur executes a series of actions making each piece an exclusive and individualized element. This is what Madrid cheese factory QAVA de Quesos and its Master Afinador José Luis Martín achieve.

QAVA & MARTÍN AFINADOR is a new store concept: a unique space designed to taste, learn, promote and buy cheese in Madrid, in the heart of Retiro district."

José Luis Martín is a key piece in the QAVA cheese factory. He has been working in the cheese world for more than 30 years, providing training throughout the world, visiting cheese shops, consulting and advising on the design and implementation of one of the most emblematic cheese shops in Spain. The fact of knowing the producers personally, and even advising them on the manufacture and design of their products, allows him to select specific batches, at different stages of maturation, to complete the cheese ripening and then convert each piece into a unique product, different and with its own distinct character, the signature of the Cheese Master.

In the profile of the Master Martín Afinador experience and pure knowledge merge. Martín Afinador is an advisor and consultant for artisanal cheese factories and product design, and for the best-specialised stores in the country, director of Gourmetquesos, director and coordinator of the Championship of the Best Cheeses in Spain during nine editions, technical director and jury in national and international cheese competitions and tastings, collaborator of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Academy of Spanish Gastronomy, director and coordinator of the cheese section of the Repsol Guide to the Best Foods in Spain and trainer for hospitality schools and food centres teaching, among other activities.

Cheese ripening is a complex process that requires time and dedication, in addition to a developed use of the senses. The Cheese Master Affineur, as a specialist in the field, works in all cheese stages (varied and complex), controls all stages of raw material transformation, supervises the evolution and development of cheeses according to the characteristics of each one of them, verifies the quality and the state when the cheeses arrive at their cellars, checks their care and conservation, and; finally, he controls its packaging and the type of wrapping suitable for its best preservation.

In Qava de Quesos they have two Cheese Refining Cellars. In these "tuning caves" or refrigerated chambers designed in constant conditions of temperature, humidity and ventilation, "we take great care of the cheeses until they reach their optimum point of consumption". The work of refining involves placing the cheeses on wooden shelves, turning them over daily and/or washing them frequently, brushing them periodically, as well as other regular handlings.

Among the services offered by Qava de Quesos, we can find specific courses and workshops, events for groups and companies, and advice on shop design and ripening rooms.