Artists’ Film International 2020

13 may14 jun 2020

Artists’ Film International is a network of art institutions from around the world, first established in 2008 by the Whitechapel Gallery, London. From a selected theme, each participating institution chooses a film from an emerging artist. The theme for 2020 is Language.

Right now, we are showing the Artists’ Film International 2020 part IV in our film room Salong 1. Read more about the selected films on the side menu. Below you can read more about Lisa Tan’s film My Pictures of You which was selected as this year’s Swedish contribution.


In the film My Pictures of You, Swedish-American artist Lisa Tan looks at photographs taken on Mars from the NASA expeditions. These pictures are interwoven with filmed sequences from Earth, and Tan muses over the bewildering similarity of the topography on the two different celestial bodies. At the same time, she talks with a researcher who is responsible for the operations of measuring water, soil, and atmosphere on the Mars expeditions, and she lays out for him some poetic speculations about the two planets. Tan thinks of Mars as Earth’s death mask, imagining that we can see our own future in the desolate, dusty red planet.

The relationship between picture and language is a recurring theme in Tan’s work as an artist, and we see it here as well. In the film, she examines the images in relation to French philosopher Roland Barthes’s famed book on photography, Camera Lucida, which is based on a photograph of the author’s late mother when she was a child. Tan asks the researcher to read from the book, replacing the words mother and she in his mind with Earth, and in this way she unlocks the language and sets it in motion. Barthes wrote that a photograph does not necessarily show that which no longer exists, but merely something that has existed. This is right in line with Tan’s work, which is permeated with a tenderly loving and sometimes melancholy look on the Earth.