Nowhere, Anywhere, Everywhere

Laura Lappi: Nowhere, Anywhere, Everywhere

September 7 – 22, 2019 at Lorimoto Gallery, Queens, New York City.

The exhibition was curated by Nao Matsumoto; a press release written by Fran Holstrom.

Laura Lappi’s work observes and translates the architecture of place from the land of the midnight sun, through both sculpture and photography. Lorimoto is proud to present Nowhere, Anywhere, Everywhere featuring larger-than-life charred, wood sculptures and documentary photographs of a kinetic, site-specific installation. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York City.

Raised in rural Finland, Laura was initially inspired by her childhood under the light of ‘nightless nights’ and the still darkness of winter where the sun seldom rises above the horizon. Photography is an ideal medium for Lappi to record this phenomenon.

For natives, the effect of light (or lack of it) dominates their visual experience of the world and shrouds it in melancholy. Further isolating, abandoned farmhouses scattered throughout a bucolic setting were the backdrop to Laura Lappi’s childhood. In an effort the capture the psyche of her surroundings, the artist builds structures with layers of wood, stacking and patterning pieces of decorative molding (typically found accentuating the interior walls of homes) in repeating abstract shapes by inlaying beveled trim. Made with the pride of a true craftsperson, the resulting wood configurations look too new, too perfect, too visible as is, so the artist chars them. Blackened with flame, the subtle harmony of the brittle, slightly reflective surface is pocked with tiny holes and accentuated by deep ridges amid geometric shapes. These ominous seven-foot panels feel like mysterious artifacts of ruined architecture, resembling a gateway or a carved codex, and offer a puzzling color field that reveals details in the shadows.

Accompanying the sculptures, are photographs of Lappi’s process and sculptural installations. Eight photographs reveal the process of charring, though it is unclear if the sculpture is devolving or evolving. The second series of photos documents a site-specific installation standing in a suburban Colorado landscape titled Study of Charring Wood and Burning Structures II. A large, carbonized wood column is enveloped by smoke emitted from inside the sculpture. Like floating out of a dream, the smoky scene has an eerie feeling. Encapsulating her oeuvre, Laura Lappi’s obscure, atmospheric outdoor installation, is hauntingly elegant. – Fran Holstrom

Exhibition was supported be a grant from the Queens Council on the Arts and Kauno ry, Finland.

Photos Stan Narten.