Yam Lau Hutong House

Look inside a traditional Chinese courtyard house in this video installation about home, friendship, and time.

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Surrey Art Gallery - 13750 88 Avenue

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Hutong House is a meditation on home, friendship, and the persistence of time. A traditional Chinese courtyard house in Beijing—the home of Lau's friend—is central to this work. In Lau’s animation, the house rotates, while on each side of it, footage of the artist visiting his friend appears. The viewer appears to be looking in from the outside. We see the house and its activities from multiple angles as space and time expand and contract.

Today, hutung houses are disappearing. Beijing is developing high-rise buildings to accommodate an ever-growing population. Hutong House captures how the architectural qualities of the home—the inner courtyard bordered by wings—foster intimacy, conversation, and movement. 

Pre-book an exhibition visit by emailing artgallery@surrey.ca or calling us at 604-501-5566 (press 1).

About the Artist

Yam Lau is a Hong Kong-born, Toronto-based multimedia artist. His artistic practices references and engages with Chinese culture, philosophy, and literature. Lau’s work explores new expressions of space and time, past and present, fantasy and reality. He earned his MFA from the University of Alberta in 1997 and has since exhibited his work widely both nationally and internationally. His work is in the collections of Agnes Etherington Art Centre, University of Toronto, Musée d’art de Joliette, Bank of Montreal; and Royal Bank of Canada. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Art and Art History at York University.