Mel Chan’s research explores human existence in post-apocalyptic world. Sounds paradoxical, yet it concerns one of the most traditional philosophical fields of debate — metaphysics. Such ancient debates are still relevant as they manifest in different forms — from new age narratives to commercialisation of spirituality.
Her projects are attempts to visit these accounts and reveal their intertwining nature, as well as the hidden economy, in the contemporary context. By using techniques from well-being industry, such as guided meditation, sound bath and hypnotherapy, Mel’s performances let audiences immerse in an imaginary world where angst and guilt of dystopia could be redeemed by means of consumption.
'My grandma was sixteen when she fled to Hong Kong, all alone.
Her father passed away when she was two. Her family blamed it on her for bringing bad luck. She was not allowed to go to school, but had to carry her brother on her back to school.
One time, she saw the ghost of her deceased father. The ghost was sorry for her situation. Another time, she fell from a tree but was not hurt at all. Only her jade bracelet was broken. She said the spirit of the jade bracelet had protected her.
She gave birth to five children. Only two survived. She burnt all photographs of grandpa, who abandoned his family and started another outside of wedlock.
Mother said grandma was a gambler who did not care for home.
I don’t know about that.
I only know her tenderness.
She whispered in my ears some formless stories while patting me to sleep. "The shrimp borrowed the eyes of the earthworm and never returned. Dog barks. Ruff-ruff. Cat meowed. Meow-meow." And so I fell asleep, until ashes piled up in the joss paper burner, and new flame rose on the kerosene stove.'
MFA (Distinction), Master of Artistic Research,
THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF ART, THE HAGUE
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Fine Art
WILLEM DE KOONING ACADEMIE
Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy and Comparative Literature (Double Major) THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
TAKING CARE OF THE SMALL ONES, Sinarts Gallery, Den Haag, the Netherlands.
NASTY WOMEN, #team/Femke, De Balie, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
ACPA CONFERENCE: IS THIS THING ON? THE PUBLIC DIMENSIONS OF ARTISTIC RESEARCH: Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, Leiden University, The Netherlands.
LOCATING ArtScience #2: Children of the Space (A Forest), Today's Art Festival, The Grey Space In The Middle, Den Haag, The Netherlands
SPECTER, V2_, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
BOOK LAUNCH of If A Tree Falls in a Forest, Page Not Found, Den Haag, The Netherlands
BETTER AS A CHORUS, MA Artistic Research, KABK, Den Haag, The Netherlands
ABANDONED REALITIES, Evermore, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
I WAS MOSTLY DELIGHTED, BUT YES, ALSO A LITTLE BIT AFRAID, Quartair, Den Haag, The Netherlands
ON-GOING CONVERSATIONS #5, 1646, Den Haag, The Netherlands
THE REVERSE OB-SERVANT, Hospitalfield, Arbroath, Scotland
RISE, Quartair, The Hague, The Netherlands
RANDOM COLLECTIVE, Stroom, The Hague, The Netherlands
THE ARTIST WILL BE DRUNK, Jimz Pub/KABK MAR, The Hague, The Netherlands
3D ZINE, Foundation B.a.d, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD (SOLO EXHIBITION), Gallery H48, Nieuwpoort, The Netherlands
KUNSTPRIJS La Lecq, de Zaag, Krimpen aan den Lek, The Netherlands
KUNSTROUTE CROOSWIJK/DUENDE DICHT, Duende Studios, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
THREADNEEDLE PRIZE, Mall Galleries, London, The UK
KUNSTWERK AAN DE WINKEL, CBK Schiedam, Schiedam, The Netherlands
DE FOTOPRIJS 09/10, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands CRIMMP_01, Podium OCW, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
ISN’T IT AS IT SOMETIMES GOES, Pictura, Dordrecht, The Netherlands
NOTHING PERSONAL, Kunstpodium T, Tilburg, The Netherlands
STATIONARY TRANSIENT, Blaak 10 Gallery, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
1984, Kunstsuper, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
A MARKETING CAMPAIGN FOR AISTE STANCIKAITE, Erasmas Bridge, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
MUSEUMNACHT, Goethe Institute, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
I [heart] THE MASS, Maritime Museum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
BLOODY VALENTINE, Downw_ARTS, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2016 Artist in Residence, Foundation B.a.d, Rotterdam
2012 Threadneedle Prize (Exhibition selection)
2011-2013 March Guest Artist, Duende Studio Rotterdam
2010 NORMINATION, De Fotoprijs 2010, The Netherlands