Tan’s work utilizes tangible media and forms to explore tensions between two coexisting but “opposing” spaces. The idea is derived from both Tan’s cultural and academic background. Tan was raised in Liaoning Province, Northeast China, which is famous for its coal mining industry. Tan’s experience growing up, including childhood memories of a deceased parent’s spirit, made him aware of the imaginative space that co-exists, intertwines, and sometimes conflicts with the physical space he occupies. His practice as a sculptor further deepened his understanding of these two spaces, which the artist describes as a virtual, “nihilistic space” that transforms into the visible—the physical and concrete form that arises during the process of making molds. Through this experience, Tan found that the ensemble of tangible forms bore a vivid resemblance to the abstract relationships between virtual and physical spaces or, in a broader sense, between two confrontational forces. His work connects two co-existing spaces. By copying and destroying them, the intersection of human reality, society as well as virtual space are explored. The public domain of virtual spaces, the neo-colonization of the internet, and the network of daily life aesthetics are the humanistic drivers for his work.
His goal is to stimulate the limits of our brains to expand the limit of our cognition and liberate the abyss of our thinking and feeling. Imagine the significance of our existence in the vast galaxy, hoping to reach a dialogue with time and space beyond the scope of the universe, related to time and history.