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Firenze Lai

Plot Holes

Plot holes simultaneously marks the inauguration of Lodovico Corsini and constitutes the first solo exhibition by Hong Kong-born, London-based artist Firenze Lai in Europe. Bringing together a series of paintings and drawings, Plot holes includes works completed between 2018 and 2024 which together give insight into Lai’s rich practice, and strongly resonate with unfolding social, cultural, and political issues of the past decade.

At low light levels, the sensitivity of the human eye shifts towards the blue end of the colour spectrum; most of what we see becomes desaturated. Firenze Lai’s painterly universe, populated by often isolated and distorted figures, vibrates within this stretch of nocturnal hues. The colour palette employed by the artist bolsters what can be seen as a complex commentary on the allegorical light (or lack thereof) in which the world is cast, and how our vision of reality is conditioned by factors external to ourselves. From moonlighting (the act of occupying a typically secret and night time job in addition to one's regular employment) to gaslighting (manipulating someone into doubting their own perceptions, experiences or understanding of events), light serves as a potent symbol intertwined with narrative in our collective consciousness. Firenze Lai's oeuvre demonstrates an acute awareness of this connection, amongst many others, offering a multitude of scenes that prompt reflection on our supposed enlightenment: from access to information and knowledge to the effect narratives have in shaping our experiences.

The exhibition’s title, Plot holes, is a perceptive reference to the overarching fiction, contemporary mythologies, political spin, and reality distortion present today.
Whether referring to the social unrest in her home city of Hong Kong or a more global phenomenon, Firenze Lai describes our perceived reality as “a thick, sticky fog that it is almost impossible to see through.” A plot hole is, therefore, an error in the narrative, a rip in the fabric, a snag in the program that reveals the smokescreen for what it truly is.

It is amidst this sticky fog that Firenze Lai places her both androgynous and anonymous figures: upon backgrounds that increasingly stray away from her original source of inspiration (photos of communal environments, public architecture, civic infrastructure, transport hubs, and other seemingly inhospitable places) towards a mental landscape which better reflects an inner turmoil and heightened sensitivity to political and social phenomena, whether visible or invisible. Indeed, Firenze Lai’s allegorical works surpass the depiction of a oneiric personal sphere to truly embody the human experience of our times; what the world and its networks of power do to us today. In each scene, bodies

are stretched, confined, coupled, quashed, divided, or supported, interacting with tiled floors, broken arches, retracting doors, curtains, desks, and chairs just as anonymous and schematic as the humanoids themselves.

The figures, with their muted features and indistinguishable clothes, appear interchangeable: they are you and I, our neighbours, our colleagues, our lovers, our friends, or strangers. Lai’s works eloquently pose the problem that befalls us isolated bodies or lone citizens today. As individuals, we all paradoxically take part in a common dilemma, trying to navigate between personal autonomy and collective responsibility, between the potency of private, innermost feelings and the dangers of looming, universal mega-narratives.

Firenze Lai’s paintings and drawings act as a tool to sustain a direct gaze into the plot holes, into the crevices between omnipresent fictionalities, where slithers of hope and defiance may thrive. Fuelled by a will to seek the truth, to tune oneself into a deeper reality, her works strike a fine balance between quiet contemplation and a seething feeling of unrest, rage, and unquenched desire for collective change.

Selected artworks

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Firenze Lai
Vessels, 2023

Oil on canvas
59 x 47 1/4 in.
150 x 120 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Wayward Sailing, 2023

Oil on canvas
59 x 44 in.
150 x 112 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Glitch, 2023

Oil on canvas
53 1/4 x 67 in.
135 x 170 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Wave Machine, 2020

Oil on canvas
53 3/4 x 67 in.
136.5 x 170 cm.

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Firenze Lai
The Lead Sky, 2023

Oil on canvas
59 x 47 1/4 in.
150 x 120 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Carousel, 2022-2023

Oil on canvas
65 x 51 1/8 in.
165 x 130 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Night Walk, 2023

Oil on canvas
23 5/8 x 29 1/2 in.
60 x 75 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Duet, 2023

Oil on canvas
59 x 67 in.
150 x 170 cm

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Firenze Lai
Victoria, 2023

Oil on canvas
49 1/4 x 38 1/2 in.
125 x 98 cm.

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Firenze Lai
A Breathing Chamber, 2023

Oil on canvas
45 1/4 x 35 1/2 in.
115 x 90 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Anthem, 2023

Oil on canvas
59 x 59 in.
150 x 150 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Snail, 2023

Oil on canvas
59 x 47 1/4 in.
150 x 120 cm.

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Firenze Lai
The Lunar Pull, 2023

Oil on canvas
59 x 47 1/4 in.
150 x 120 cm.

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Firenze Lai
The Dancing Trio, 2023

Oil on canvas
59 x 59 in.
150 x 150 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Red Curtain, 2018

Oil on canvas
33 1/2 x 27 1/2 in.
85 x 70 cm.

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Firenze Lai
A Room Within a Room, 2018

Gouache on paper
11 1/8 x 9 in.
28.2 x 23 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Traveller, 2022

Graphite on paper
11 1/8 x 8 1/4 in.
28.2 x 20.9 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Circumference, 2019

Graphite on paper
11 1/8 x 7 3/4 in.
28.2 x 19.8 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Daymare, 2023

Watercolour on paper
7 3/4 x 11 5/8 in.
19.8 x 29.6 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Union, 2022

Watercolour on paper
12 1/4 x 16 1/8 in.
31 x 41 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Post and Posture, 2022

Watercolour and gouache on paper
12 1/4 x 16 1/8 in.
31 x 41 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Trial, 2020

Watercolour on paper
11 1/2 x 15 3/8 in.
29.2 x 38.9 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Cocoons, 2022

Watercolour on paper
11 1/4 x 11 1/2 in.
28.6 x 29.2 cm.

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Firenze Lai
The Edge of Land, 2024

Graphite on paper
6 1/4 x 9 3/8 in.
16 x 23.8 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Breathe, 2022

Ballpoint pen on paper
5 7/8 x 8 1/4 in.
14.8 x 21 cm.

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Firenze Lai
Field Trip, 2023

Graphite on paper
6 1/4 x 9 1/2 in.
16 x 23.9 cm.

Exhibition views

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