Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a London-based artist and printmaker working with narrative. I’m inspired by how experience and memory affect our interpretation of space. Working between mediums, I incorporate sculpture, printmaking, and photography to craft a sense of place. I work within specific and remote histories. In this act of zooming in, I find an incredible relatability in the removed – perhaps it is this idea of displacement, of looking at where we are and how we place ourselves that interests me most. Trained in classical sculpture and bronze casting, before going on to discover my passion for printmaking and undertaking a MA at the Royal College of Art (2014-2016). This exhibition marks my return to sculpture for the first time in nearly half a decade.

Dawn (Diptych), 2021 © Kristina Chan

When you start developing a new artwork, what is your creative process? How do you choose something as a reference and where do you go from there?

Whenever someone asks me about my work, I always start by saying that I tell stories. I think it's a cultural imperative. I come from a very mixed background and have travelled a lot, collecting stories. Wherever you go, you take them with you; you hold onto them and let them define you. Stories are so individual, but at the same time, they are also universally relatable. I am interested in the idea that you feel a place or a landscape in a way that’s much more immediate and intimate, even before you apply words to them. This is what I try to evoke.

A lot of the time it’s something quite vague – stillness, nostalgia, or even just a pause. There is a literary term “in media res”, which means starting a story halfway through. I think it’s a similar feeling when you are confronted with art – no matter what culture you come from, you always tend to flashback to something that feels familiar. You add in your own context and story. To me, this feeling of familiarity is very important, I often try to reference it.

How do you want the viewer to feel when they experience your work in person?

Curiosity, and this act of leaning in. After all, that is what draws me to each place and therefore series. I hope to instill something similar. My work explores the boundaries between individual and collective memory, and how these colliding narratives can affect our interpretation of space. By decontextualising a place, I attempt to craft instead, an experimental space that presents fact as fiction, reality as fantasy, thereby fuelling a curiosity to learn more.

Survey Series, detail, etching, 2021, collection of artist, © Kristina Chan

How has winning The Ingram Prize helped you to progress in the art industry?

Winning the Ingram Prize has helped immensely. Not only has it given me the confidence to actively seek out new opportunities, but I have also been approached by numerous curators and galleries, creating great momentum and connections in the past year and for the year to come. I was also fortunate enough to receive funding for the production of the new works in the exhibition, supported by the Canadian Council for the Arts. The support from the Ingram Collection and the wider art world has been instrumental in my career development.

What advice would you give for aspiring artists?

Indulge your curiosity: experiment, learn and be kind to yourself throughout this process.

What's next for you? Any upcoming projects or exhibitions we should keep an eye on?

I have a few things coming up. Exhibitions include

  • Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize Exhibition exhibiting at Trinity Buoy Wharf from 18 November – 5 December in London and at the Drawing Projects in 2022.
  • Waking Dreams exhibiting at Hancock Gallery from 14 October – 23 April 2022. This is a collaborative exhibition with photographer Itamar Freed. We will have work exhibited at the Royal Photographic Society in July 2022 as well as Litvak Contemporary in September 2022. 
  • I have work in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition until 2 January 2022. 
  • And will also be part of the touring exhibition A Strange Kind of Knowing, curated by Olivia Penrose Punnkett, co-director of Haarlem Art Space. This exhibition will exhibit with Arusha Galleries in London (8 -14th December) at 48 Great Titchfield Street and in Haarlem Art Space in February 2022.
  • I have recently had an interview with Pamela Kember, entitled Remembering in Art: In Conversation with Kristina Chan, published in Third Text Journal and will have another article relating to the works in this exhibition published in The Jackdaw Magazine in January 2022.
  • Lastly, I am pleased to announce I will be releasing a new season of my podcast, Horizons, available on Spotify in March 2022. This is a project that is very close to my heart and explores the wider narratives around my work, the places themselves, and the untold stories I don’t discuss in my visual work. It is a transcription of my artist books and puts my work into a broader context. It is a project funded by the Canadian Council for the Arts.