Tan Sian-Hua was born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1978. He received his Master’s degree in fine arts from Taipei National University of the Arts in 2006. Before his graduation he had already earned honorable mentions from Taipei Arts Awards, Kaohsiung Awards, and had been offered First Place for Taoyuan Creation Award. For his early creation period, the figure sculptures were reflections of both his inner emotional complex and objective consciousness, whereas his installations were manifestations of social observations and collective discourses.
He had been studied with Lee Kuang-Yu and had made prototype sculptures for Yang Mao-Lin. With both of these master sculptors, Tan’s skills were developing into perfection, as well as obtaining a profound examination of his own role in the art field. For him, what supported artists in their backbone was the spirit of labor. His subject matter thus primarily dealt with the identity of labor in their social strata. In the series of The Hiddens and The Humbles he had therefore implanted within and connected the image of labor with different identity, creating new implications and meanings for it as he helped the society to look at the image of labor with new insights.
Apart from sculpturing, Tan had also explored other art forms. In 2012 the installation “City Wonder” had witnessed one of his explorations, deriving from his usual cares and reflections for the society. He created house-shaped extension cords, rendering them into merchandised objects which the viewers could actually buy and conveying an art intention that included the very actions of vending and purchasing. While the viewers were buying the works, they themselves were involved in the changement, though minor in scale, of the figurative cityscape.
2015 had seen the start of Tan’s Express Time & Space series. He began to take molds directly from construction equipments and vehicles. As he took molds from heavy duty machines, which were not supposed to be present in the finished buildings, he was observing the absence of labor and was exposing a fact that labors were facing in our society. Though his artistic methods were completely different, he was actually laying his eyes on what he had cared for years. This project was a turning point of his artistic career, whether the works should be molds of construction vehicles or slices of certain space and time, they were all the artist’s self-digging process as well as a study to nowaday society.