This exhibition traces the various strategies Laiwan has chosen over the years (from 1982 to present) in her investigation of categorized identity. These works don't posit right/wrong, us/them dichotomies, nor do they get washed away in liberal post-modern ambiguities. Using language as a primary source of engagement, Laiwan draws the viewer into a position that only self examination of our own "uniqueness" and sense of moral responsibility can complete. With just ourselves to consider, these art works become powerful reminders of the limits of our constructed perceptions.
My interest has always centred around ideas. From where do we get them? How do they shape us? How can we articulate them? Do I have any?
I am not an artist who exhibits very often. Sometimes it is because I find myself seduced by the ideas alone and sometimes because it is difficult to make certain ideas manifest into a physical medium. That is the challenge-to translate an idea successfully so that it is not overwhelmed by the medium or technology. This also makes me interested in examining ways to include process in each piece-whether it is the process that destabilizes the theme or idea, or a process that makes visible the embodiment of those ideas in our being. Not all of my work has been able to do this.
I like the media of books and print as they convey ideas succinctly and intimately while being less intrusive to the ideas they contain. Perhaps it is because we have been with books for many generation that we are used to them and their intrusion.
This exhibition has been put together to look at some of the ideas that have taken shape in a selection of my work since 1982. I think there are certain things that I'll always be obsessed with-language, structures and perception-and this may be evident here.