Lap-See Lam creates ‘Phantom Banquet’, a live installation and performance piece spanning several rooms and informed by the language and hospitality of rituals observed at Chinese restaurants in Sweden. The artwork has been inspired by the artist’s family-run enterprise open for many years in Stockholm. It will be unveiled as part of the performance art biennial in New York (1-24 November). The work is co-commissioned by the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm and Performa.
In this new work, Lam will guide viewers through a haunting four-part installation
Using narrative storytelling, virtual reality and live music, Lam’s large-scale installation will examine the relevance of imagined and metaphorical spaces and the complexity of cultural identity. The work will be part of Performa’s program Pavilions without Walls, which this year showcases rising talent from Sweden and Taiwan. Phantom Banquet invites the viewer into the representation of the Chinese restaurant, a place where the conceptual and the every-day meet.
Exploring technologies including 3D scanning, virtual reality and animation, Lam has systematically taken to document increasingly endangered old Chinese restaurants in Sweden. By preserving the legacy of these interiors, her work considers how myths, popular culture and fiction have the potential to control and construct notions of identity and belonging, weaving together the spirit of the Hong Kong-Chinese diaspora across the world and the value of cultural-historical heritage.
In this new work, Lam will guide viewers through a haunting four-part installation, beginning with a story set in 1978 in Stockholm of a girl who disappears through a mirror and into another dimension. Participants will be seated family-style at a dinner banquet, and experience a narrative script with digitally-manipulated visualizations of real-life Chinese restaurants. A live musical performance accompanies the work, featuring vocals and instrumentals from Sweden and New York City. The work explores concepts around ghosts, moving bodies, becoming other, displacement and visuality.
Phantom Banquet is a continuation of Mother’s Tongue, 2018— Lap-See Lam’s collaboration with director Wingyee Wu— a video installation where 3D film sequences transport the viewer on a journey across space and time. In three chapters that play out in the past (1978), present (2018), and future (2058), Mother’s Tongue tells stories that revolve around social, cultural, and technological clashes through fictive monologues by three generations of women, who speak of their experience of the restaurant and how it changes over time.
Lap-See Lam’s Phantom Banquet opens on 12 November at Deitch Projects, 18 Wooster Street, New York.
Lap-See Lam (b. 1990, Sweden) has exhibited her work internationally, with solo exhibitions at Skellefteå Konsthall, Skellefteå (2019); Moderna Museet Malmö (2018–2019); and Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2018) and is a student at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. Lam has taken part in group exhibitions at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2019); Luleå Biennial (2018), Kópavogur Art Museum, Kópavogur (2018); Kendra Jayne Patrick, New York City (2018); and Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen(2017). She received the Maria Bonnier Dahlin Foundation Grant in 2017, and her work can be found in permanent collections at Moderna Museet, Stockholm and L’Ascensore, Palermo.