Beyond Between - Catalogue text
Color glazed ceramic roof tiles, found objects
Chair loaned from restaurant Waldorf in Luleå
In Lap-See Lam’s works Beyond Between and Gwái, she picks at the idea of authenticity.
The desire to consume that which is “strange” or “foreign,” from food to images, is turned
on its head to become a mirror of ourselves.
Like antique sculptures or artefacts in museums are sometimes reconstructed and have
their missing parts returned to them, Lam has collected objects from a soon bygone
culture of Swedish Chinese restaurants. In Beyond Between, a 3D-milled reconstruction
is made into a prosthesis. The seams are laid bare in the construction of the fantasy.
The pagoda style roof – typically found outside on temples, or in China Town areas –
is often found in Sweden as part of restaurant interiors. Lam lifts the roof off the
environment and then back again. This reconstruction is also a kind of reincarnation,
which makes possible its new function as commemorative object. It becomes something
that is worth remembering. At the same time, the digital process entails a degree ￼of
simplification, a loss of detail familiar from the continuous transformations of history.
The roof becomes a ghost moving into a speculative future. It continues to be defined,
not by its function, but rather by how we relate to it.
In Gwái, this ghost returns as image; a hovering object. It exists in limbo, perhaps stuck
there or moving towards the periphery, the future. The furniture is covered as if people
have moved away. The chair is empty but recalls the shape of a body. It could be that
here is an image of the migrant as a kind of ghost - a figure who moves through the dark,
dragging along their historical baggage, infiltrating the contemporary. The ghost also
stands in for the systems that are not visible, the stories that are not told, the infrastructures
of migration, and the geographies of Chinese restaurants. It outlines the contours of our
projected fears. When it appears, it is to reveal the viewer, rather than itself.
/ Sanna Samuelsson, 2018
This work has been commissioned for the Luleå Biennial 2018
Lap-See Lam (b.1990) is an artist based in Stockholm.
Thanks to Macromould modell & form and Restaurant Waldorf in Luleå.