Phillip Lai

Phillip Lai
Jan Verwoert
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This first monograph on Phillip Lai (b. 1969, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) charts the artist' s sculptural development over the course of the last two decades. From a basement soy-sauce factory to the Hepworth Prize for Sculpture, the publication surveys several of the artist' s exhibitions across London, Wakefield, Turin, Berlin and Hong Kong. The nine chapters explore an evolving oeuvre that finds form in materials like aluminium, pewter, concrete, resin, rice, cooking pots, textiles and film. It is through these technologies that Lai broaches the material limits of the everyday world, often working with casting processes that see the abstraction and changing stability of materials as they transition from fluid to solid. What comes into focus is a fascination with how objects can relieve or modulate primal human urges to food and water and how, by extension, a material world might be re-envisioned around concerns of depletion and survival. This publication includes an essay by critic and writer Jan Verwoert, with bilingual text in English and Chinese throughout.
Jan Verwoert is a critic and writer on contemporary art and cultural theory, based in Berlin. He is a contributing editor of frieze magazine, his writing has appeared in different journals, anthologies and monographs. He teaches at the Piet Zwart Institute Rotterdam and the de Appel curatorial programme.