The Memory Palace: Cyrus Tang

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The Memory Palace: Cyrus Tang

Artist Cyrus Tang commits memories to materiality in major show at Town Hall Gallery

‘The Memory Palace: Cyrus Tang’ is a major exhibition of recent work by multidisciplinary Melbourne based artist Cyrus Tang.

For the past 20 years of her practice Tang has examined sentiments of nostalgia within memory and fantasy. Her work brings into relief the paradox of reconstructing ephemeral mental images and sensations in permanent materials.

Tang’s work references the mnemonic method for retaining memories known as the memory palace, a technique practiced in ancient and early modern times. A memory palace was an imagined architectural setting through which one placed cues for recollecting and reciting complex stories.

“Those cues could be statues, views from windows, or even a sequence of rooms and doorways each standing in for a specific memory. We still use versions of this technique today, even unconsciously, as means for storing and triggering memory” Cyrus Tang, artist.

“Most of the works in this exhibition are based on a slice of memory of myself. They are my inspirational visual response to certain social or personal events. They may also serve as a device to trigger the audience’s personal stories” Cyrus Tang.

Working fluidly across sculpture, photography, video and installation, the artist’s distinctive style embraces the materiality of her media. While the photographs and video works are presented in post-production digital format, the visual effect Tang achieves is through analogue processes, often the result of labour-intensive procedures in the studio or the field.

Tang’s work documents her chosen media going through a transformation, a convergence of past and present. The results are hauntingly beautiful artefacts that often memorialise collective experiences.

“The analogue is the ruin, the memory that is being eroded, and yet in which I pin my hopes for resurrection or survival. My work is about the potential survival of the analogue, perhaps as a dream of recovery and restoration. Perhaps as a utopia, beyond the medium’s obsolescence.” Cyrus Tang.

Tang explores the ruins and decay of houses and cities, and of human bodies, while referencing current environmental and man-made catastrophes.