Exhibition: Shadow Speak

Biraaj Dodiya and Heidi Lau Shadow Speak March 11 - April 15 2023

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.” Biraaj Dodiya (b. 1993, Mumbai, India) lives and works in Mumbai. She received a BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015, and an MFA from New York University, New York in 2018. Recent solo exhibitions include Every Bone a Song, Experimenter - Colaba, Mumbai, 2022; Stone is a Forehead, Experimenter, Kolkata, 2020; Burn your finger, And kiss it yourself, 80WSE, New York, 2017. Recent group exhibitions include Do You Know How To Start A Fire?, Experimenter, Bikaner House, New Delhi, 2021; The Profound Object, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2021; (ME)(MORY), Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2021. Dodiya was awarded a residency and fellowship at Civitella Ranieri, Italy, in 2022.

Heidi Lau (b. 1987, Macau, China) lives and works in New York. She received a BS from New York University in 2008. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include Gardens as Cosmic Terrains, Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, 2022; Empire Recast, Grand Lisboa Palace, Macau, China, 2021; Spirit Vessels, Matthew Brown, Los Angeles, 2020; Blood Echoes, AALA Gallery, Los Angeles, 2019. Lau presented Apparition for the Macau-China Collateral Exhibition at the 58th Venice Biennale, 2019. Lau has received numerous fellowships including, NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, Emerging Artist Fellowship at Socrates Sculpture Park, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space, the Martin Wong Foundation Scholarship, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant.

Photography by Dario Lasagni.