In this interview, the artist Karen Tam discusses her artistic practice, her recent exhibitions at the Conseil des Arts de Montréal and at Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, as well as her collaboration with DHC/ART Education through the workshop Gothic Kitsch as part of the exhibition Wim Delvoye.
In her own work, Karen Tam shares with Delvoye the use of craft, ornament, and humour to explore different ideas about identity, authenticity, and commodification. She creates and replicates environments and objects such as Chinese restaurants, curio shops and antique porcelain vases, using different materials from the originals. She comments on historical or cultural spaces and attitudes in order to gain a deeper understanding of these places and things through the process of making.
Since the 2000s, her works have been regularly exhibited at venues such as New York’s The Drawing Center, Victoria & Albert Museum, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. She was a finalist for the Prix en art actuel from the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec in 2016 and has received numerous grants and fellowships. Current exhibitions are being held at the Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides (QC), EXPRESSION, Centre d’exposition de Saint-Hyacinthe (QC), the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (BC), and Galerie Hugues Charbonneau (Montréal, QC). Tam holds a MFA in Sculpture from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a PhD in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths (University of London). She is represented by Galerie Hugues Charbonneau.
*French subtitles available