top of page

“Consisting of an array of different views of Mount Fuji, Erika Tan’s complex multi-part installation is an engaging and evocative portrait of Japan’s most iconic mountain, as well as a wider meditation on the difficulties, and the vagaries, of representation. Alluding to the popular story/ancient myth that Fuji only fully reveals itself to someone approaching with a ‘pure heart’, Tan speculates on whether such an innocent address is even remotely possible, knowing what we know already of one of the planet’s most reproduced and recognisable landmarks, and the untold numbers of people (from master painters to gawking tourists) who have fixed it in their sights. Orbiting around the mountain, and tracing its repeated outline in people’s spur-of-the-moment drawings, or in the countless J-pegs of it available over the internet, Tan assembles an inventory of received impressions, with the only ‘live’ video of the mountain, instructively, lost behind a blanket of fog.“ - Steven Bode, Curator of ‘There is No Road’, LABoral, Gijon, Spain & Director Film & Video Umbrella, London, UK


The Syntactical Impossibility of Approaching with a Pure Heart is a large-scale work, which is a meditation on apriori knowledge, the encounters with the unexpected and the inevitable impossibilities of reconciling representation, experience, and expectation. Mount Fuji or Fuji-san comes to play a central role in this work, and the title refers in part to the mythological tale of the fate of faithless or unworthy pilgrims. The work consists of 13 video works, several hundred donated drawn images, compiled or composite Mount Fuji's*, and other elements such as topological type puzzles, viewing mechanisms and LED signs.


Made during a 2-month residency in Yokohama the work is a collection of works, donated drawings, compilations, live footage and animation. (13 DVD, drawings, digital prints, sculptural objects, wall design, LED signage)

Titles of individual works: On A Clear Day / From up High / Public domain 1, 2, 3, 4 /The Collective / A-Priori Mount Fuji, UK/Spain/Japan


The work was commissioned by /Slab, Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, BankART Yokohama, and has been shown in A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Traveling, Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland, UK; and BankART, Yokohama, Japan. Subsequent showings have been in Lost & Found, Osage Gallery Singapore; There is no Road, LABoral, Gihon, Spain.

Syntactical Impossibility/ installations elements

Syntactical Impossibility/ installations elements

Watch Now
bottom of page