Hutong House, 2009
Image from the video
© Yam Lau
Courtesy of Leo Kamen Gallery
In Praise of Evanescence: Space, Time and Image of the Everyday
January 31 – May 2, 2010
OPENING : January 31, 2010, 2 pm
Tour of the exhibition with the artist and the curator, 1 pm
Curator : Gaëtane Verna
In Praise of Evanescence: Space, Time and Image of the Everyday brings together three recent works by artist Yam Lau that combine digital video and 3D animation.
In the first two works, Room (2006) and Room: An Extension (2008), the domestic space and everyday acts are presented to us in a setting that overturns conventional representations of space and the passing of time. Using three-dimensional modelling software, Lau constructs a virtual environment in the middle of which stands a framework, a sort of cubical dwelling. Filmed sequences showing the artist in his private life are projected on to the translucent virtual walls of the structure, which slowly rotates. The effect of this movement is to make the planes multiply, pivot and nest, forming a cycle in which places endlessly break up and re-form from a different viewpoint or angle. The illusion of reality is thus blown away, leaving us with a moving world where our gaze cannot find any fixed landmark to focus on, but where, paradoxically, everyday, ordinary acts and familiar objects take on a new dimension.
The third work, Hutong House (2009), takes us into a Beijing siheyuan, a traditional type of house with a square courtyard, now becoming rare. As in the previous works, the architecture unfolds in the form of filmed sequences projected onto the walls of an animated virtual structure. Inside we see Yam Lau and a friend busy with a host of little everyday actions that are interrupted, resumed, repeated and shown on another level as the various parts of the dwelling move back and forth under our eyes. Time seems to have become frozen – and with it this ancient house and its modern occupants – in an endless present, balanced on the edge of the void.
Yam Lau was born in Hong Kong. He now resides in Toronto, where he is represented by the Leo Kamen Gallery. His work has been exhibited on numerous occasions in Canada, the United States and Europe and has been the subject of many publications. He currently teaches in the Department of Visual Arts at York University.