Stuart Shave/Modern Art is proud to present an exhibition of new work by Phillip Lai. This is the British artist's fourth solo show with Modern Art. Phillip Lai’s work offers a family of sculptural approaches composed of analogies and associations. It offers itself up in various guises that are always essentially sculptural, and are always asserted in the context of central questions to do with the conception of a set of ideas, and the capacity in which these ideas can be imagined and actualised. His work is resolutely and rigorously situated in material objects: notionally represented forms and subtly manipulated spaces that might stand-in for an idea of something known, and that in turn might suggest an abstracted narrative of urban experience, transience, vacation, exchange and utility. For this exhibition at Modern Art, Lai has affected an upending of the gallery architecture, quietly but assertively reorienting the approach to and encounter with his exhibition of new sculptures and 16mm film.
A solo exhibition comprising 3 artworks: (1) a room construction (6.5m x 2.2m), bisected by a doorway from which the door is visibly removed. One side of this space is exposed to view via the plate glass window that fronts onto the public street. The other side is visible through a window within the gallery space. Both are parallax and oblique views of an open doorway through which the other viewpoint cannot be seen. (2) a large, cast concrete cylinder (117 (h) x 258 (dia) cm) with a fire-scorched interior. (3) a work in two parts; a platform or set-like wooden construction on top of a scaffold structure (310 x 436 x 166 cm) in conjunction with a loop projected silent 16mm film. Additionally, the exhibition involves the complete and seamless blocking of the entranceway to the gallery space proper (isolating this space from the gallery offices). Visitors are given street directions to a back entrance where they are met and guided to the space through the galleries vacated basement storage and utility spaces.
This exhibition can be seen in the context of the artist’s other work in which there is frequent use of a conceptual ‘structure’, variously manifest as a motif of shelter, a condition of inhabitation (also regarded as the inhabitation of the gallery space by the artwork), a sense of encounter, or a situation that might be regarded as a scenario.
The development of this exhibition began with the conception of work (1). The doubling /double-sidedness of this work and its visual description of a permanently opened doorway informed the closure of the front entrance to the gallery and the full inversion of the experience of the site. It involved research into specific sources in literature and in reference to the theatrical device of the soliloquy.
The exhibition took place between 13.01.12 – 11.02.12 and has been photographically re-presented on the gallery website (http://www.modernart.net/)