Oct 10 2011

Bookmark: Jaffa Lam

by The Contributing Artist

For Bookmark, ArtAsiaPacific invites an artist to spotlight some of their online sources of inspiration. This week we asked Jaffa Lam.

Jaffa Lam, known for her conceptual community projects, first became interested in a socially responsible art form during her solo exhibition at Shatin Town Hall in 2003, at the time of the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong. The four wooden sculptures on display were created in response to frightened radio dialogue between community members. Subsequent works, shown in exhibitions including the tributary “Looking for Antonio Mak” (2008) and the 2010 Hong Kong Art Biennial, have sought to create opportunities for community engagement. A profile of the artist can be found in ArtAsiaPacific issue 75. 

1. Physic Theory Applied in Daily Life

In this Japanese video, I learned a simple physics theory that can be applied to daily life: how to make a plastic sheet resistant to wind.

3. David Nash

Searching admired artists is another reason I go online. I was increadibly impressed by this video, which documents a more than 30-year-long project by one of my favourite sculptors, David Nash. I don’t know how he made this decision in 1977. There’s no need to read the text or artist’s statement. Just look at the video. I keep asking myself, will I be able to believe in one single thing when there’s so many “new” things coming up to distract my resolve?

5. Antony Gormley

I’m also a teacher, so I ask myself how do I teach art? Antony Gormley is a man I admire for his sculpture as well as for his attitude towards art education. His studio is his school too. My favourite part of this website are the pictures of Gormley’s studio showing his students and assistant. I also like to see how Gormley arranges his works-in-progress in the studio (e.g. pic103). It’s like a snapshot of his thought process in that moment.

2. Cool Science – Windbags

There are different techniques you could learn from the Cool Science Experiment. I always look for experiments related to air.

4. Love Stories

The main object shown in the mass media of this couple’s half century love story is the staircase the man carved, but I also treasure the installation of the simple house. The 6000 steps are hand carved, and the water container outside the house is also hand carved by the man, very simple and naturally generated from his spiritual love. I always ask myself whether or not I am still making something I feel is necessary. I try not to generate too much trash, to treasure what I have now, and make only whatever is necessary physically or spiritually.

6. Richard Mosse

The last one I would like to share is this powerful image by Richard Mosse, at least from my perspective. I can’t forget this photograph since the first time I saw it around two years ago in an e-magazine sent to me by chance. There are wooden partitions erected in a palace with camouflaged army cloth hanging over gaps in the makeshift walls. No guns are firing. We see no dead people. No one is crying; but upon seeing this, I was so utterly sad. If we need to produce something in art, it’s better that it be this sort of (in the very spiritual sense) “functional”  work.