Featuring Of Trying Times by Tan Peixin
THERE ARE SENTIMENTS and experiences that are difficult to translate or hard to express, or seem redundant to tell someone else about - moments when you have too much weighing on your mind and heart to fall asleep and feel like the only person within miles who's still awake; when you feel trapped in a valley and can see no way out for yourself; when the space between where you are and where you want to be is too daunting . With clay, resin and just a little bit of gold, Peixin captures these deeply intimate personal narratives in all their perculiarity, uniqueness and wonder.
There are two storylines here. One, & sleepless nights, is of how ‘one watches the moon change when they are too worried to sleep’, a story told through the phases of the moon imagined in black or white and flaked with gold. The second, & hills and mountains, is about the trials of life after graduation, “kind of like an uphill struggle”.
In both collections, one gets the sense of looking upwards and outwards, pointing towards the possibility and unknown embodied in the abstract rendering of these entities. Perhaps in the depiction of peaks in shades of purple, the moon as a dark, light but glittery entity, and with every unique rendition, we are invited to imagine, ponder, tell and claim the stories of these trajectories anew. Perhaps just as each mountain and hill and moon is handcrafted by its maker, we think of the value of these experiences and these struggles and these pursuits in new ways, as unique to us, and therefore precious, painful or mundane though they may seem.
As Peixin says, “Of trying times sounds like something that you complain of, where you talk about how hard your life is. But it’s not.” Instead, the collection is the manifestation of her channeling her stress from not being able to find a job into “something positive”. Of Trying Times is her story, a story about making good on potential and possibilities and finding wonder in the waiting, in restlessness, in the steep steps, and a reminder of the beauty that lies in that process for us too.