26 February 2024–26 April 2024

Metamorphosis by Laura Lappi

Part of Alserkal Art Week

Starts 26 February 2024

Ends 26 April 2024

Venue Firetti Contemporary

Warehouse 29


Metamorphosis by Laura Lappi draws its inspiration from the grandeur of ancient basilicas, cathedrals, and mediaeval Scandinavian wooden structures. Her sculptures capture the essence of diverse architectural forms, evoking the sculptural qualities found in the world's celebrated architectural masterpieces. Lappi explores the profound significance of these monumental buildings, which have historically shaped our communities and continue to influence our way of life.

Wood, her primary medium, forms a direct connection to her homeland and the natural world, ever-present through forests, architecture, furniture, and as a source of heat during Finland's extended dark seasons. Each wall sculpture meticulously crafts historical blueprints using repurposed wood. Lappi employs an ingenious technique, layering wood to form intricate geometric patterns that organically unite the pieces. To protect the wood and add depth, she employs a charring technique using fire, drawing inspiration from the ancient Japanese art of yakisugi. This transformative process results in a deep, beautiful black texture that reflects and absorbs light in mesmerizing ways. She orchestrates a visual symphony with geometric shapes, imbuing her sculptures with structural integrity while reflecting the profound agency of the charred material, marked by the passage of time, loss, and remembrance through the alchemical act of burning.

Fire symbolizes the dual nature of destruction and purification, while wood embodies the essence of nature, growth, and resilience. This multifaceted union prompts contemplation on constant transformation, rebirth, and the cyclical nature of existence. Light plays a pivotal role in Lappi's works, molding and reshaping our perception of the wooden forms, transcending the confines of the material world and giving birth to captivating interplays of shadows and illumination.

Her art serves as a metaphor for the human experience, reminding us of our capacity for transformation and our innate ability to rise from the ashes, emphasizing the enduring beauty that emerges from life's challenges. It stands as a testament to the profound connections that bind us to the elements and the world around us, inviting exploration of the depths of our existence and the enduring resonance of life's eternal dance.

Transformation is central to Lappi's practice, where wood transitions from a living organism to a shaped, discarded, reused, cut, and organised material. Through fire, it undergoes a profound metamorphosis, assuming an in-between state, half-dead and half-alive, resistant to preservation. The use of fire connects her work to humanity's earliest use of energy, capable of transformation, heating, bending, and disappearing.

The scale, often larger than human dimensions, invites viewers into a mystical geometric language that transports them into a sacred space, evoking spiritual auras reminiscent of the architectural structures that serve as her muse.