Phantom Banquet  


Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm  

14.5.2020 - 18.6.2020


Lap-See Lam's much anticipated debut exhibition at Galerie Nordenhake Stockholm continues

to draw on her lyrial and charged exploration of the Cantonese diaspora in Sweden through the

history of Chinese restaurants in Stockholm.

In a scenographed group of new sculptures and an immersive Virtual Reality journey we are taken

on a real-time archeological dig that, like a sci-fi sub-genre, appears both ancient and futuristic.

Instead of exploring historical civilizations Lam summons apparitions from her family's legacy in the

city. But Lam's work is not limited to the biographical. Using fiction as a tool and particular interior

aesthetics of these restaurants as a formal language, Lam draws attention to the cultural history of

these spaces and how the idea of a place constructs notions of cultural identity and belonging.

In the first space Lam reifies fragments from now-defunct restaurants' interiors by extracting data

from 3D scans. Chairs, a table, a stove, all take form as ruins, like the disintegrating furniture of a

ship wreck seen through a watery mirage. Digitally stripped down to their bare shell-like surfaces,

the environments are rendered as slivers of space and time.

A neon ghost illuminates the following room in cherry-red. The figure is not a threatening spectre

but an ancestor – a conduit for previous generations, stitched together from the fragments of people

accidentally captured in the 3D scans of the real world restaurants. It sits sentry and oversees the

passage through to a staged dining room. As in séance, visitors seat themselves at a round table where

they are transported via VR headsets into another spatial reality. A story narrated, perhaps by the ghost,

accompanies the viewer through architectural spaces that are rendered as skins, at once both familiar

and alien. Rooms are suspended in a void and dislocated from the infrastructure of their physical


Within these disembodied establishments, which we individually populate in our VR spaces, Lam

reveals hidden histories and futures. The exhibition constitutes an expanded anthropological enquiry

that explores the fluidity of language, identity and cultural histories.

Elements within this exhibition were produced with the generous support of Christel Engelbert,

Chairwoman of the Maria Bonnier Dahlin Foundation, and were commissioned and presented

first at Performa 19, New York.



Photo: Carl Henrik Tillberg


You can experience a low resolution version of the VR artwork on your smartphone with a VR headset at

home. Headphones are recommended. Please follow the instructions under the clip. 



Voiceover script: Lap-See Lam (inspired from an idea by Lap-See Lam & Wingyee Wu)

Edited and translated by Ping-Kwan Lam, Yuk-Lin Lam & Lap-Yan Lam

Voice Actor: Ping-Kwan Lam

Sound Designer and Composer: Marlena Lampinen

Sound Mixing and Mastering: Linus Hillborg

Real Time Engine consultant: Martin Christensen

Real Time Engine consultant: Dennis Härmä

Motion Capture Studio: DevinSense

VR Producer: Sofia Curman

Textile fabrication: Emmy Rengfors Frost & Emelie Lännqvist

Table fabrication: Adam Gustafsson

The artist would like to thank the restaurant staff and their families at New Peking City,

Hang Chow, Mandarin City, Ming Garden, Ming Palace, Bamboo Garden, Ho Wah, Hong Kong,

Wing Shing, and Winner House. Many thanks to Sara Arrhenius, Royal Institute of Art and

Bonniers Konsthall.