First Impression


During his residency at The Center for Book Arts, Tattfoo noticed that everyone was making business cards and he though he would make them as well, which resulted in an art project. First impression, 2007, is a sheet of uncut letterpress printed cards. Both his card and the one he made for his wife include their names, occupations, locations, phone numbers, email addresses and websites. In a non-ironic approach, Tattfoo looks into the politics of social exchange by creating a work that asks viewers to pose a series of pressing questions. Intended as business cards for the artist and his wife. Tattfoo describes their professions as "the provider" and "the housewife," respectively. A play on the hyped-upswapping of cards during social interaction, these "business" cards explain in all honesty what the artist and his wife do for a living. Imagine receiving one in exchange for your own business card, what would your reaction and first impression be? Amazement? Astonishment? Confusion? Perhaps all of these, and that is exactly what the artist intended. In an era when creating business cards and handing them out is almost more important than what one actually does for a living, these cards are refreshingly sincere. The artists hands them out as part of a performance, undoubtedly receiving queries as to the meaning of the cards. Although seemingly hilarious, these cards are actually quite matter of fact and take a deeper look at the stereotypes often associated with terms such as "provider" and "housewife." Tan has reduced himself and his wife down to terms that are often considered negatively by today's society. What does it say about society's reaction to these descriptions and the judgements that may occur because of it? Perhaps Tattfoo is looking to re-evaluation for not only these "job" descriptions but also the reactions they incite.

Excerpt from Multiple, Limited, Unique, Selections from the Permanent Collection of the Center for Book Arts by Erin Riley-Lopez