Melissa Tan’s intricate and obsessive patterned paper-cut outs are laboriously layered and graphically echo topological maps saturated with cryptic information. Simultaneously macro and micro, they visually allude to colliding alien tectonic plates and magnified internal structures of precious stones.
Inspired by the formation of crystals, Noriko Ambe’s Linear-Actions Cutting Project and Tacita Dean’s multifaceted practice, the drawings are documentations of the processes involved with developing crystal clusters. The layering of paper mimics compressions and the burn mark-making technique is conjured by the intense heat built-up from the procedural pressures that are essential components for the formation of valuable minerals. Though inspired by rough and intense processes, the works appear ephemeral and delicate.
And the Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn (2014) is a continuation from the first series titled The Secret Lives of Rocks (2012) which was exhibited during The Singapore Show: Future Proof at Singapore Museum, progressing from earthly gravels into meteorites and asteroids-rocks from space. Tan asserts that the darkest hour of the night is midnight and just before dawn is the best period to watch heavenly meteor showers. Furthermore, the title references the proverb “It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth”, alluding to the possibility of hope even in the worst situations, a recurring theme in her practice. Thus with time, everything heals and patience will bring potentials and possibilities.
Melissa Tan – and the Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn