Irene Chan: Chiroptera

MCBA Outlook Gallery
January 20–March 20, 2022

viewable from the street.
(open book is currently closed to the public.)

Chiroptera was created while I was a resident artist at Anderson Center. I saw a beautiful attic space there and was inspired to make an art installation of bats appearing to be flying and some roosting in the space. I follow the Chinese tradition of considering bats to be good luck. I also wanted to show interesting facts about bats and their positive environmental impact. For that reason, I have some bats lying dead on the floor. These bats have small text written on them.

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A number of the bats have a small Swarovski crystal on their nose, to represent the white nose syndrome that is killing bats in the East Coast, Midwest (including Minnesota), and has now reached Texas. The flying bats are attached to the walls by monofilament and the roosting bats are attached with museum putty.—Irene Chan

This track, composed by Tony Solitro in collaboration with Irene Chan, accompanies the installation. Listen below!


Irene to Visit MCBA in Late January!

Sign up and join Irene Chan for Dynamic and Infinite: Cut and Fold Books on Saturday, January 22 from 1–3:30pm! This in-person binding workshop will center on experimentation, inspiration, and play.


Irene Chan is a multidisciplinary artist who works conceptually in print media, papermaking, installation, storytelling performance, and book arts on subjects of Taoism, personal immigrant narratives, and forgotten histories. Her books and works on paper have been exhibited internationally and held in 88 public collections including the Walker Art Center, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Tate Modern, Victoria & Albert Museum, and British Library in London. Chan established Ch’An Press through which she has self-published prints and 35 artist’s books to date. She is the recipient of grants and awards from Erasmus+MobileUP, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Arts Council, Maryland State Arts Council, Washington D.C. Commission of the Arts and Humanities, of fellowships to 23 artist residencies, and has exhibited and performed in 55 venues in the last ten years.

Irene Chan holds an MFA with honors from the San Francisco Art Institute and a degree in architecture (BArch) with a Minor in English from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Besides running her own press and studio, she is also an Associate Professor of Visual Arts (Founder and Head of Print Media) and Affiliate Faculty of Asian Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA.