Carla Chan 卡娜


Academic History and Early Exhibitions


Carla Chan is a contemporary artist based in Berlin and Hong Kong. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. Chan is a multi-media artist working with video, installation, photography and printmaking.  Much like the never-ending development of new technology, Chan considers media art as a medium with infinite possibilities for artistic expressions.


Digital Interest


Born in the post-digital perio d, Chan is influenced by computational thinking in her artistic research.  She invents different methods of capturing and recomposing in her photography and moving images.   

As in her Blacken White, it is a series of prints which are comprised of glue, acetone and carbon powder. The glue has been screen-printed on paper, which has then been partially covered with carbon powder. This process reveals the glue-images whilst simultaneously capturing the motion of the powder across the paper, freezing a moment in time.  By adding the acetone, a chemical process is being set in motion, creating unique, uncontrollable outcomes.


The landscapes which are used for the Blacken White series are shots taken on a digital camera during the first encounter the artist had with nature, in Sweden. Exposed to the vast landscapes, a seemingly untouched nature turned out to still show traces of human impact. The physicality of the prints translates this experience of the artist and thematises the discussion about the toxic contamination of nature caused by human beings in a subtle, poetic and unique way.


Carla often plays with the ambiguity between forms of nature and the digital realm, toying with the blurred boundaries between reality and imagination, figure and abstraction.  Her style is minimal, often with a dash of Chinese flavour.  As in her kinetic creation Between Happening, it is time-based installation that consists of a framed screen-print and a custom-built magnetic mechanism hidden behind it. The magnet attached to the mechanism inside the frame moves iron powder printed onto the paper. The iron powder reveals the structures and outlines of a landscape. The movement induced by the magnet creates ever-changing patterns of erasing and constructing, revealing and concealing the landscape, which slowly evolves through time.  


The pieces of the Between Happening series symbolize the impact humans have on the environment. Every intervention leaves its traces behind, just like the dark iron powder leaves its traces on the print.  Over time, the powder will smudge the print more and more, as the particles are dragged across the paper over and again, like pollution smudging a pristine landscape over time. The looped, mechanic movement contrasts and unites ideas of the cyclical character of life and the mechanic intervention of humans within it. This impact, however, is only revealed through time, just like the magnet reveals the impact of the iron powder on the print over time.