In the wake of a view
Jeremiah Day and Phillip Lai
19 April—18 May 2013
Varkensmarkt 12 rue du Marché aux Porcs
B-Brussel 1000 Bruxelles
Temporarily situated in a domestic apartment, Elisa Platteau gallery stands in the centre of Brussels, with a dominating view over the city in the backdrop. This panorama is hard to ignore and even if overlooked, still manifests its presence as a quiet, melancholic image. As such, the exhibition takes shapes in the wake of a view…
How do artistic practices relate to the outside? How can artists produce works within a codified socio-political, artistic and yet domestic context? But moreover, how do we read artworks when placed in such structured settings and what do they bring into our reading of the outside? Within an interior that merges the codes of household and gallery spaces, on the 10th floor of a modernist tower block, the works of Jeremiah Day and Phillip Lai engage with the lingering image of the exterior city.
Subjects and Objects That Cannot Meet, by Phillip Lai, enacts an ambivalent relationship with the outside landscape. In the wake of this work the view becomes a panorama, an image, part of the interior space. An installation of wooden strips presses fabric blankets to the ceiling, enclosing a lit lamp within the structure. Simultaneously embodying the aesthetics of the domestic and assimilating familiar elements from outdoors, the work creates a shelter inside the space. The shelter is an intimate, autonomous zone: a moment of enclosure that absorbs the entire space within. The construction stands in tension, its wooden strips are strained and tired. It is as if by feeling the pressure of the ceiling, the installation defines the fragility of this internal space and on the verge of collapsing undermines its own objecthood.
Rather than a static image, Jeremiah Day approaches the landscape as a historical site permeated by fractured narratives, memories and conflicting interests. Notions of identity, progress and political struggles are addressed in relationship to the landscape. The Fall of the Twelve Acres Museum is centered on the legacy of a 1976 lawsuit over land in which a Native American tribe, the Wampanoag Indians, attempted to reclaim part of their native land, but was denied on the basis that they no longer constituted a tribe and thus had lost their political organizational form. Juxtaposing images of the historical site with an audio narration, Day encourages an open reading of the landscape. The trust in images is disputed, as if they fall short of the task of capturing and retelling the social and political histories that marked the landscape.
Phillip Lai was born in Kuala Lumpur in 1969 and lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions have been at Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London, Galleria Franco Noero, Turin (both 2012), Transmission gallery, Glasgow (2009) and Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin (2008).
Jeremiah Day is based in Berlin and Amsterdam. His work has been shown at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Shanghai Biennial, Kunstlerlhaus Stuttgart, Freymond Guth, Zurich, and Kunstverein Hannover. Day collaborated with Simone Forti on the exhibition News Animations / No Words For You, Springfield in 2008 at Project Arts Centre, Dublin. His most recent publication is Autonomy, published by Site Gallery.