S.E.A. Focus returns for its 5th edition from
Friday 6 Jan - Sunday 15 Jan 2023

The thing of it

Phillip Lai

Medium: Tyre pieces, aluminium basin

Size of work: 25 x 35 x 35 cm

Enquire Whatsapp

Phillip Lai approaches objects in a manner that appeals to, and reflects on, their intrinsic existence and properties. Through careful, delicate compositions that place the object in plain sight, Lai creates moments that lull you into considering the heart of the object.

 

About the Artist

Born 1969, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Lai is interested in the politics of space. Whether it be a plastic basin hanging from the wall such as ‘Untitled’ (2016) or a delicately balanced collection of finely crafted aluminium pots as in ‘Certain pressures’ (2016), Lai plays with arrangement, from the wall to the floor, to create different observation angles which in turn inform our physical encounter.

This sense of a ‘meeting’ between self and object, self and composition of, is where the poetry of Lai’s work lies. Permeating his practice is a tension between simplicity and complexity, how that very ‘thing’ one recognises is reduced to what it actually is, yet how, through this arrival at an essence, a new level of awareness is unveiled and unfolded. Lai effectively lays out an epistemological methodology that is not pinned by absolutes. Rather, it opens the seemingly definitive to the abstract, urging a contemplative step away from the assumed and contained towards the open and dispersed.

Phillip Lai’s work has been featured internationally in solo exhibitions at Camden Arts Centre, London, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London and Transmission, Glasgow, Galleria Franco Noero, Turin and Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin. His work has also been featured in group exhibitions at Tate Modern, ICA, Hayward Gallery, Drawing Room in London and MOMA in New York.