Heidi Lau

My ceramic works are hand built into the form of various objects of remembrance –towers, funeral monuments and fossilized creatures that are simultaneously being infested, disintegrating, and reforming on a cellular level. Through creating collections of impossible or fictitious monuments and artifacts imbued with elements from myth and minor history, I am suggesting the materiality and non-linearity of the past.

—  Heidi Lau about her practice on Joan Mitchell Foundation.


Detail shot of Chrysanthemum Vessel.

In her presentation at the 58th Venice Biennale, the wall read “Nostalgia can be a poetic creation, an individual mechanism of survival, a countercultural practice, a poison, or a cure. It is up to us to take responsibility for our nostalgia and not let others 'prefabricate' it for us” (Svetlana Boym, “Nostalgia and Its Discontents,”2007).

It is through this sense of owned nostalgia that Heidi’s sculptural works take shape. Towering buildings shine in a state of decay with organic growth, misshapen from a feeling of both familiarity and longing. Drawing from her experiences living in both Macau and the US, Heidi’s practice is a reflection of what it is to be in-between, and of an ongoing search for home, as seen in snapshots of rapidly developed neighborhoods and post-colonialism in Macau.

While her practice on the surface looks to navigate larger visions of place, upon further inspection it reveals another sense of introspective intimacy. Particularly in her more recent works, Spirit Vessels, Heidi draws viewers into her miniature worlds and asks the question of what it is to inhabit these spaces. In her reference to burial objects, perhaps the answer comes not in the what but when we might be able to fully connect to such monuments.


Detail shot of Chrysanthemum Vessel.

Related Content


Solo show at Matthew Brown Los Angeles, "Spirit Vessels"

Aug 2019


58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale de Venezia Collateral Exhibition from Macao China



In the Studio: Heidi Lau

Jun 2019

Y — A — 2020