East Contemporary

Portikus: Lap See Lam “Tales of the Altersea”

Frankfurt am Main, March 11 – May 28, 2023, https://www.portikus.de/

A daughter of Hong Kong emigrants wanders around her new homeland in Sweden and is plagued by nostalgic memories of her parents. The Chinese restaurant of her parents as well as other Chinese restaurants she encounters serve as a kind of medium connecting her to her imagined roots. It is a kind of kitsch imagination of Asian culture consisting of dragons and Asian hip-an-gable roofs. This real-world references are mixed with the fairy tales her parents told her when she was small: Anthropomorphic fish and flying people. All of these things are somehow mixed in her brain and the output is an animation combining these elements. The backgrounds are largely black, which I read as a kind of acknowledgement of the fragmented nature of memories and all the missing parts. The animations are 2D and rather crude. Paper-cut animations, the audience are told. Another reference to a “traditional” craft of East Asia. Abstracted Asian roofs and Chinatown gates serve as a kind of backdrop to this. The atmosphere is calm and dreamy.

The floor is covered with a white carpet that can be only entered without shoes. Not dissimilar to Hajra Waheed´s “Hum”. It makes me wonder if the white carpet is part of the artwork or a necessary part of the room to improve the acoustics of the concrete box of the gallery. Unfortunately the carpet always seems to be installed right before the show and adds an olfactory dimension to the show: The smell of glue and PVC. But even with this unwanted side-effect, the carpet adds a bit of a homy and warm feeling, especially when its cold outside.

Lap See LamTales of the Altersea
Lap See LamTales of the Altersea

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