Bureau is pleased to present Shadow Speak, a two-person show featuring Biraaj Dodiya and Heidi Lau. Mumbai-based Dodiya presents a suite of large paintings alongside several assemblages of painted wood and small canvases. Lau, a Macau-native based in New York, presents a group of ceramic works, featuring her recent experiments with cast glass in addition to several vessels, free-standing objects and wall reliefs. This is the first time either artist has shown at Bureau and their first time showing together. Lau’s works engender a speculative space of imagination that takes inspiration from Shanhaijing (The Classic of Mountains and Seas), an ancient Taoist text of mythical geography, ecology and cosmology. This originary text offers Lau a conceptual framework to employ a non-hierarchical, non-linear paradigm from an ancient mythological model. Within Lau’s compositions, these allegories take shape in the mutable nature of clay, crystalized in glaze and oxides. Undulating landscapes evolve and erode revealing personifications that permeate a natural environment. Hands emerge among winds and waves; black pearls bloom out of networks of round, burrow-like cavities. Two tall stacks of wall-mounted reliefs conjure columns; their opposing poles of darkness and light take root and reach towards the sky. Through
Lau’s sculpting and manipulation, she pushes her material to the brink of its physical limit; like a willow tree’s branch bent by water-soaked leaves – about to succumb, yet holding form and potential.
Dodiya’s compositions capture and envelope the viewer’s body within painted psychological landscapes. Between sculpture and painting, her totem-assemblages disrupt the authority of the two-dimensional picture plane where faceted surfaces generate new landscapes from fractured and adjoining topographies. Dodiya’s works bear traces of their making and unmaking; layers of earthy pigment accumulate and erode as the act of painting gives way to burial and excavation. The large compositions shift from a distanced perspective to an encompassing geological scale, where vibrations of tectonic movement seem to resonate and engulf; the feeling of earth and form emerge slowly, the way water carves rock. These works might present an answer to the question, what is landscape without light? For Dodiya the works embody the violence of time, suggesting “there is no landscape without ruin, there is no body without failure.”