The Camden Arts Centre is presenting two new exhibitions to kick off the Spring season. The first is by Phillip Lai a London-based artist known for a diverse practice often emphasising spatial experience, situation and encounter as materials. His work brings about a sense of itinerancy and estrangement in its particular use of familiar objects, arranged incongruously, altered or reproduced, pushing them to the point of abstraction.
This exhibition of new work created specifically for Gallery 3 proposes states of inhabitation and enclosure, resting visually between the industrial and the domestic. Lai uses contrary aesthetics to disruptive effect, introducing implausible moments into the experience of the work and opening it up to our imaginative involvement.
Canadian artist Moyra Davey works across photography, film and writing to create intimate, flâneur-like visual essays on the everyday passing of time and her filtered relationship to literature. Davey’s camera often turns towards the overlooked discards and detritus of daily life while she recounts narratives from her collection of novels and philosophy books, weaving these with anecdotes from her lived present and reflections on her relationships with family, literary influences, psychoanalysis, travels and her personal surroundings.
Four video works elucidate Davey’s investigations into text, in particular her fascination with Mary Wollstonecraft, the Shelley sisters, Jean Genet and other literary and philosophical figures. The exhibition presents a major recent work in its entirety, Subway Writers. This series of photographs of commuters writing on the New York subway draws on the history of mail art; creased, stamped and scuffed after being posted directly to Camden Arts Centre, they retain a physical record of their journey.