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Poole Streetscape Manual

Bigraphies: Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier

Vong Phaophanit was born in the former French colony of Laos in 1961, and was educated in France, studying painting at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Aix. He has been based since the late 1980s in London, and is a visiting lecturer at the University of the West of England Exeter, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Art. During 1996-97 he was the recipient of a DAAD Fellowship in Berlin. In 2005 he will undertake a residency and commission in Laos.

From his studio-based practice Phaophanit makes gallery installations with ephemeral materials of Asian origin, such as rice, bamboo, and rubber, usually in combination with neon light. His works frequently incorporate textual elements, often in Laotian script. He first attracted attention for his installation Neon Rice Field, in which white neon lights glow through a covering of piled furrows of translucent rice grains. This was shown at the Tate Gallery in 1993 when the artist was shortlisted for the Turner Prize.

Phaophanit also makes permanent commissions for architectural and environmental settings, as well as collaborating with architects on design projects. In recent years he has undertaken commissions in partnership with Claire Oboussier.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, 1999

Atopia, Royal Festival Hall Ballroom Commission, London, 1998

Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, 1996

Phaophanit and Piper, Exhibition (with Keith Piper) touring to Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham; Site Gallery, Sheffield; Cambridge Darkroom, Cambridge; The Minories, Colchester, 1995

tok tem dean kep kin bo dai (what falls to the ground but can't be eaten), Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 1992

Chisenhale Gallery, London, 1991

In the Shadow of Words, Arnolfini, Bristol, 1990

Selected Group Exhibitions

Hortus: Botany and Empire, Spacex touring exhibition, Spacex Gallery Exeter and Liverpool Biennial, 2004

Process of Renewal, V & A Museum, London, 2002

East of Eden, Spacex Gallery, Exeter, 2001

3 rd Asia-Pacific Triennale, Brisbane, 1999

Crossings, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1998

Trade Routes: Hisory & Geography, Johannesberg Biennale, South Africa, 1997

Pictura Brittanica, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 1997

Inclusion: Exclusion, Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria, 1996

Azure Neon Body, Sculpture at Goodwood, Hat Hill Sculpture Foundation, 1995

De Appel, Amsterdam, 1995

From Beyond the Pale, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 1994

Cocido y Crudo, Reina Sofia, Madrid, 1994

Turner Prize Exhibition, Tate Gallery, London, 1993

Prospect '93, Frankfurt Kunstverein, 1993

Four Rooms, Serpentine Gallery, London, 1993

Aperto, Venice Biennale, 1993

Selected Public Commissions and Environmental Works

Field of Rods, commission for roof-top of McKinsey & Co office block (Gensler Architects), Kensington Church Street, London (Art & Work Award 2002)

Field of Labels, environmental installation for Gateway & Orientation Centre, Loch Lomond National Park, 2002

Collaboration with architects Clare Devine and Samir Pandya for design of the Wilberforce Institute of Diaspora Studies, University of Hull (Art for Architecture Award, RSA, 2001)

Lead Artist with Bath Spa Redevelopment Project (with Nicholas Grimshaw Architects), 2001

Permanent commission for the Garden Court, Asia Society Museum, New York, 2001

Ash and Silk Wall, permanent sculpture/shelter commissioned by Greenwich Borough Council and PADT, Thames Barrier Park Project, 1993

litterae lucentes, 50m long wall, Killerton Park, Devon, 1993

Claire Oboussier has published catalogue essays and other studies of the work of Vong Phaophanit for Atopia (DAAD Publications, Berlin, 2003), The Centre for Drawing: the first year (Wimbledon School of Art Publication, 2001), the 3 rd Asian-Pacific Triennial (catalogue essay, Queensland Art Gallery,1999), Ash & Silk Wall (Public Art Development Trust, London, 1997), Phaophanit & Piper (Touring exhibition catalogue, 1995), and Vong Phaophanit (De Appel Publications, Amsterdam, 1995).

Oboussier has also published studies and presented papers on the phenomenon of synaesthesia as both a neurological syndrome and a literary device, particularly in relationship to the French writers Roland Barthes and Helene Cixous: Synaesthesia in Cixous and Barthes (in Women & Representation, University of Nottingham, 1995); Barthes and Feminity: A Synaesthetic Writing (in Sage Publications Masters in Modern Thought Series: Roland Barthes, 2003).

As a collaborative practice, Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier have worked together on a number of commissions and/or as design team members for the following architecture, urban design, and performance projects:

Life Lines, an environmentally interactive sculpture for Pier Hill, Southend-on-Sea, Southend-on-Sea Council, 2004

Outhouse, permanent sculpture for Liverpool Housing Action Trust, sited at the Trust's Woolton site, working with the architect Andrew Brown of Owen Elks Partnership, 2004.

Neon light installation for Centre for Lifelong Learning (Wilkinson Eyre Architects) at City and Islington College, London, 2004

Visual concept and lighting (with Greg Pope) for Scan, Rosemary Butcher Dance Company, Hayward Gallery, London, 2001