Catalogue Text for Nikki Lam, Another Place
Seventh Gallery. 2 – 18 October, 2014
Another Place is a transformative work, echoing our longing to be elsewhere: “not for a place to belong, but an ambiguous site that is between all places”(1). Exploring the non-navigable, the connection existing between people, place and time, Nikki Lam’s video installation is both conceptual and personal.
Poetically and visually the work slowly turns, stirring our emotions. Cast seeds moving with the ebb and flow of water and wind remind us of the cyclic nature of existence. Some move independently to flourish alone, others together. Tide-kissed shores illustrate the rhythm and gravitational pull of sun and moon. As the frame circles our perspective is displaced; horizons become vertical and currents are upturned.
Contrast against the ocean, the seeds signify more than birth or life itself, but connection. This boundless expanse of water unites all continents. Water too exists in continuum, replenishing and purifying the atmosphere and all matter. With an undefined start or end, such connections and cycles forgo to repetition. The need or longing to belong that Lam explores is inevitably trapped in cycle, in Another Place.
Projected on an orb-like sculpture the image floats, caught in a passage of transition. The round form associates the Chinese moon, a symbol of union. Believed to be the carrier of emotions the moon connects individual, family and friend regardless of place. A meditative soundscape holds the scene – sounds of wind and tide paint movement, whilst the hum of a distant plane resonates change, adaptation, evolution.
On a research trip in Liverpool, Lam visited an installation by renowned artist Antony Gormley, of the same title. Here across Crosby Beach, Gormley’s 100 body-cast sculptures stretch the shoreline. Submerged or nakedly exposed, weather and tide dictate the visibility of the forms, and for Lam this experience was near impossible. Each independent and boldly upright the figures collectively face the horizon. In dialogue with the environment, Gormley’s Another Place examines the ideology of immigration. Australian with Hong Kong heritage Lam was on the motherland of both colonies, between literal and figurative borders.
Investigating ideas of displacement and identity, Lam’s Another Place evokes transition and the liminality found in our longing to be elsewhere. As Gormley’s bodyforms gaze outward at the expanse of the horizon, Lam’s video focuses inward. Having the ability to investigate and contemplate infinity, yet overshadowed by mortality, Another Place is a reminder that we are victims to our own vulnerability. Although an independent journey, we each search to understand ourselves; to become, to belong. Leaving. Returning. Adjusting. Finding contentment in that place in between.
(1) Lam, N, 2014, http://www.nikki-lam.com/Another-Place