Field of Rods

2012
Steel
300 x 800 x 100 cm
Edition of 1

Field of Rods is formed from a series of highly polished, steel rods anchored to a fixed base. Resembling sheaves of wheat, the delicate rods sway in the wind, making a faint musical sound as they knock together gently. The reflective surfaces of the structure catch the sunlight and mirror the natural elements that surround the piece. Much of Phaophanit’s works reference his Laotian heritage and Field of Rods is no exception. Phaophanit left Laos for France and subsequently England as a young adult and did not return for many years, by which time Laos had undergone much political and social change. His work often addresses identity and memory whilst revealing multiple layers and contradictory meanings. The title Field of Rods is suggestive of a Westernised subject matter, but the industrialised steel rods however are in fact meant to represent sheaves of wheat and bare strong resemblance to the natural bamboo rods present in many of Phaophanit’s other works.

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About The Artist

Memory plays an important part in Phaophanit’s work and his choice of materials, including bamboo, rubber and rice, often referencing to his Laotian heritage. Although Laotian references are an important component of Phaophanit’s work, he is often concerned with contextualising this interest within broader aesthetic and philosophical concerns. Phaophanit is best known for his sculpture and installations, which employ familiar materials to expose multiple layers of contradictory meaning. An early installation entitled What Falls to the Ground but Cannot be Eaten at the Chisenhale Gallery, London, in 1991, was composed of an austere architectural gateway and a light suspended bamboo installation creating an important dialogue between both material and cultural differences. Laotian text adorned the ceremonial gateway through which one entered the installation. Since then, Phaophanit has frequently used Laotian text in his work. The nine red neon words of Litterae Lacentes (Light Writing) at Killerton Park, Devon, in 1993 were placed on a garden wall where bamboo and palm trees had been planted. He did not translate the words for his audience, in an effort to communicate the challenge of living between cultures. Following this, Phaophanit developed an interest in neon and LED light technology and has worked frequently with architects to develop new ways of working with these materials.

‘Field of Rods’ is currently on display

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Visiting Information

Vong Phaophanit

Born: 1961

Other Artworks by Vong Phaophanit at CASS

1995

Azure Neon Body

Some time ago Phaophanit came across a small book, a dictionary translating Laotian into English. Published by a Laotian…

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