Phillip Lai

Stuart Shave/Modern Art | 6 Fitzroy Square

Right from the start, you could be certain only that there would be no certainties. Just inside the door of this show, on the floor of the gallery’s lobby, Phillip Lai had installed Untitled (all works 2009). On and around a low pile of foam slabs of various sizes and thicknesses were four wine bottles, a couple of balls, and a baseball bat—a temporary resting place, perhaps, for a gregarious though security-minded vagrant. All of the objects are cast in sponge foam, but they are imperfect, looking as if parts of their surface layers have been left in the mold; the balls in particular seem almost purposefully distressed. A similar one was pictured in isolation on the mailer for the show, where it looked like nothing so much as a degraded globe. The slabs, too, far from being abject found material, have been carefully cast to appear just like what they actually are. Questions of occupation

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