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still from Kingdom of Shadows (Fiona Tan, NL 2000)

Kingdom of Shadows

Fiona Tan / NL, 2000 / 48 min.

Few of us could imagine life now without photography or cinema. In the form of an associative collage, artist Fiona Tan unfolds a personal vision of how we currently relate to images.

poster Fiona Tan - Mountains and Molehills

Images and our attitudes towards them have changed greatly since the invention of the camera and of printing. In Kingdom of Shadows, Fiona Tan concentrates on photography – a medium we particularly employ to create a picture of the world, to piece together what we call reality.

Paradoxically, the starting point for this is the final resting place for many photos: archives and collections. Starting with the enormous mountains of all collected visual material, Tan made a selection of found footage and photographs. Structured in three parts, flanked by an introduction and epilogue, the film includes four individuals: a collector in Amsterdam, a cinematographer who collects amateur photographs in Budapest, a retired press photographer in Hamburg and an artist in New York who concentrates on what is not seen.

All four present their most treasured photos and the individual ways in which they use, love and hate images. The pictures they show are humorous, endearing and heart-breaking. Averse to nostalgic reminiscence, all four are actively engaged in dealing with the meaning of images now.

Prior to this programme, at 19:15, there will be a screening of short artist films about collections, including Fiona Tan's Depot. Tickets for this programme are available separately.

This is part of



Fiona Tan

Production year




Original title

Kingdom of Shadows


48 min.


Dutch, English, German





Part of

Fiona Tan

Fiona Tan is known for her video and film installations in which she explores memory, history, globalisation and the role of images.

Learn more
Fiona Tan, Gray Glass (2020), still, 3 channel 4K video installation, black & white, 3 x mono, courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London
still from Kingdom of Shadows (Fiona Tan, NL 2000)
still from Kingdom of Shadows (Fiona Tan, NL 2000)
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