David Tan holds law degrees from Harvard and Melbourne, and is a professor of law at the National University of Singapore. He was a recipient of the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship in 1997 and was named Singapore Tatler’s Most Promising Young Person in 2001. He is also an accomplished fine art fashion photographer, having published a coffeetable book Visions of Beauty featuring the designs of Versace, and Tainted Perfection, in collaboration with Cartier in Singapore. His retrospective book of photographs from 1996 to 2005, David Tan: The First Decade, was exclusively available at Books Kinokuniya.
Tan has had exhibitions in the United States, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. His worldwide photographic campaign to promote Singapore as a global talent destination featuring well-known personalities like Michelin-starred chef Emmanuel Stroobant and fashion designer Andrew Gn has appeared in magazines like Vanity Fair, New Yorker, Time and Financial Times. He has also photographed music album covers for Singaporean music icons Kit Chan and Jacintha Abisheganaden, and Asian celebrities such as Maggie Cheung, Allan Wu and Lea Salonga.
The human body may be regarded as the purest and most perfect aesthetic architectural form, or one can study it as a socially constituted and situated object.
For most of the 18th and 19th century, the naked human body was the subject of Renaissance paintings and sculptures. The perfect human body was seen to be a bond between the gods and men.
Much of contemporary society is ashamed of the naked and the nude. There appears to be a social and psychological “taint” associated with the exposed body. “Tainted Perfection” utilises the sculptural beauty of line and texture to prevail over the sexual seductiveness of physique, in an attempt to de-eroticise the nude form. The body – tainted by a misconceived prejudice against its nudity – attains an “aesthetic dignity”.