Gasworks presents Future Tropics, the first UK solo exhibition by Amsterdam-based Singaporean artist Kent Chan. Working in collaboration with other artists, writers and musicians, Chan imagines potential scenarios of a future and global tropic.
Chan's practice explores past and future relationships between heat and cultural identity, as well as the legacies of colonial modernity in a time of climate crisis.
Pushing real-world observations of climate change and speculating upon the makeup of societies after the loss of climate variation, his exhibition at Gasworks aims to expand our geoclimatic imagination about the impending future by addressing hypothetical yet urgent questions such as:
"If the entire world turned tropical, what would it mean to have an Old and New Tropics? How would global culture and geopolitical relations be reshaped in a mono-climatic world?"
These questions are posed in ‘Future Tropics’, the 2023 video work that Chan’s forthcoming Gasworks exhibition is named after, which speculates upon the ramifications of earth’s warming and consequent loss of climate demarcation.
Alongside 'Future Tropics’, Chan's Gasworks exhibition also features ‘Warm Fronts’ an ongoing project which was further expanded during the artist’s residency at Gasworks in 2022. In the work he interrogates London as the former centre of the British Empire through collaborations with various DJs of tropical lineage. In 'Warm Fronts' Chan explores notions of 'mixing', both sonically and culturally, within an imagined tropical future, creating a sonic and solar alliance built not only upon shared histories, but the potentiality and connectivity of heat.
These moving-image works will be presented as part of an immersive installation that aims to recreate —rather than just represent— the experience of the tropics inside the exhibition. Mimicking tropical monsoons, his new installation will create a shifting micro-climate across the galleries while also subtly choreographing the audience's navigation of the exhibition space.
Kent Chan is an artist, curator and filmmaker based in the Netherlands and Singapore. His practice revolves around our encounters with art, fiction and cinema that form a triumvirate of practices porous in form, content and context. He holds particular interest in the tropical imaginary, the past and future relationships between heat and art, and contestations to the legacies of modernity as the epistemology par excellence. The works and practices of others often form the locus of his works, which have taken the form of film, text, conversations and exhibitions.
He was artist-in-residence at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht in 2019/20. Recent solo and duo exhibitions include Kunstinstituut Melly, Rotterdam; de Appel, Amsterdam (both 2021); Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht (2020); and the National University Singapore Museum (2019). Selected group exhibitions and screenings include Tate Modern, London; IFFR Rotterdam International Film Festival (both 2022); Times Museum, Guangdong; Onassis Stegi, Athens; Bienalsur, Argentina (all 2021); and Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht (2020). Chan is the 2023 winner of the Impart Art Prize and 2021 winner of Foundwork Artist Prize, and his works are collected by the Kadist Foundation, the Rijkscollectie, Netherlands and Bonnefanten Museum.