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Lang Ea: Shadow cannot exist without light

July 11 - September 10

Lang Ea, Shadow cannot exist without light (2017), silicon casting, ciment fondu,  silica sand, builders sand, and fibre glass

Master Bedroom

Shadow cannot exist without light is drawn from Lang Ea’s two journeys to China, with the most recent being the Red Gate Artist Residency in Beijing, China in 2016 (1st – 29th of August); and the inclusion of three paintings inspired by a trip about ten years prior.

“During my artist residency with Red Gate, I was based in one of Bei Gao six studio/lofts, set in Feijiacun Village situated on the north side of Beijing, where there are many Chinese and foreign artists studios. Nearby is Red Brick Museum and the art districts Caochangdi and 798. As it was only a one month residency, I decided to focus my residency on researching, conceptualising ideas, collecting and creating drawings and making small clay sculptures for my final sculpture work back in New Zealand.

My work is based on this Abstract I wrote:

Shadow cannot exist without light

Just as wars are fought to hold on to peace

It is a paradigm which humans cannot escape

This balance insists that it needs to be part of us, nature and the universe

The yin and yang symbol, based on Chinese philosophy are opposite or contrary but complementary forces, interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, giving rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. During my research I have found that I was drawn to figurative sculptures which had the gestural, loose distinctive eastern style reflecting their loose, gestural calligraphy paintings. A technique which I have only seen in China, in particular works by internationally renown, prominent and controversial Chinese Sculptor Tian Shixin, born in 1941.

Influenced by internationally renowned artists including sculptors Antony Gormley and Li Chen and the painter Li Jin while at the international Red Gate residency in Beijing during 2016, I reoriented my work back to casting abstracted figurative sculptures. Like Li Chen, I sculpt human forms through gestural movements, similar to the dry paint brush Li Jin uses on canvas to express. The sculptures will be grouped together as an installation, enabling viewers to walk around, self-reflect and contemplate.”

Red Gate Residency courtesy of Asia NZ Foundation with support from Wallace Foundation.


Lang’s family fled Cambodia after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime and after spending three years in various Thai refugee camps, the family emigrated to New Zealand in 1982.  She is based in Auckland, New Zealand.

Lang’s art work has been exhibited in solo and group shows, recent exhibitions include Embodied Memory, Villa Manin di Passariano, Italy, Sculpture by the sea –Bondi 2016, Sydney, and Brush Strokes, Pen and Brush Gallery, New York City. She has upcoming exhibitions for Sculpture in the Gardens, Auckland, November 2017 and Memorial the Verdun, Verdun, France, 2018.

Lang Ea has been a finalist in numerous awards and received artist residency fellowships for Art Omi International Residency, New York/2017; Red gate Residency, Beijing/2016; and Vermont Studio Centre Residency, Vermont/2015.  Her works are held in public and private collections in the United States, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand.

“As a multidisciplinary artist my work explores a variety of issues reflecting the unstable contemporary age, drawing inspiration from my Cambodian origins. I like to produce effective emotional narratives whole conveying a coherent and consistent sense of harmony and unity utilising combinations of everyday materials including resin, polystyrene, glass, concrete, ceramic and wool. The creation of these works satisfies my psyche and a subconscious urge drawn from lost childhood memory formed amid the complexity of war. I like to explore the personal yet universal challenges of war, questioning the correlation between us and the horror and tragic consequences of war.”



July 11
September 10
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