Vong Phaophanit

Born in Savannakhet, Laos in 1961, Vong Phaophanit was educated in Paris where as a teenager, following the political events in Laos, he became a refugee under the Geneva Convention. He went on to study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Aix en Provence, France and met and married Claire Oboussier while they were both still students. Phaophanit moved to the UK in 1985 and became a British citizen in 1993. There he embarked on his career as an artist and began to experiment with a wide range of media subsequently exhibiting widely nationally and internationally.

Phaophanit became known for his large-scale installations which incorporate a wide range of materials including ash, silk, rice, rubber, wax and often light. In 1993 he was nominated for the Turner Prize and in 1994 was awarded the DAAD fellowship in Berlin. In 1998 he was nominated for the Paul Hamlyn Prize and in 2002 was the award winner of the Art and Work Award for site-specific work with Gensler Architects. Phaophanit’s work is held in major collections around the world including the Tate Gallery, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Singapore Art Museum, The Henry Moore Foundation, The British Council Collection and The Arts Council Collection. He has been a visiting lecturer at Chelsea College of Art, Wimbledon School of Art, Camberwell College of Art, The University of East London and Exeter College of Art and was also senior fellow in drawing at Wimbledon School of Art.

Throughout his early career Phaophanit maintained a close creative dialogue with Oboussier and they frequently collaborated on projects together. From the late 1990s the duo began the process of formally unifying their practices and went on to create their current shared studio.


British citizen

Born: 1961, Savannakhet, Laos

Lives and works in London, UK



Ecole des Beaux Arts, Aix en Provence, France


(Collborative work between Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier *)


Tate Britain, Neon Rice Field (2023 version) was on display in the Duveen Galleries as part of Tate Britains re-hang of its permanent collection.


Borderless Permanent Commission for The Cleveland Clinic, London HQ


Singapore Biennale 2019. New Commissioned work Never Real Historians, always Near Poets, 4K Ultra video installation (collection of Singapore Art Museum)

Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins, London. Counter Acts

Framer Framed Gallery Amsterdam NL, Unauthorised Medium


The Call of Things, Fen Court, 10 Fenchurch Ave, London (Eric Parry Architects)
Ultra 4K LED Video installation with Soundscape
Commissioned By Assicurazioni Generali Group

*Edge of the wonderland – Thailand Biennale 2018.

*Wild Way, Competition winners for major public commission, Hyde Park Corner, London. Commissioned by Grosvenor and HSH. Art consultant: Modus Operandi.

*In other words, Cambridge Assessments HQ (Eric Parry Architects), University of Cambridge, UK. Commissioned by the University of Cambridge. Art consultant: Commission Projects.

*White Neon Figure, Faculty of Islamic Studies, Doha, Qatar. Commissioned by the Faculty of Islamic Studies. Art consultant: Artscape Management.


*IT IS AS IF, Block 366 Gallery, London> commissioned by the Wellcome Trust

*The Line, Walmar House (RFK Architects), Regent Street, London, UK. Commissioned by Great Portland Estates. Art consultant: Artscape Management.

*Dream House, Ïce Towers (architectsAlliance), Toronto, Canada. Commissioned by Lanterra. Winner of the ICE Public Art Project. Art consultant: Public Art Management, Toronto.


*Apart we are together, public commission for the 2013 Singapore Biennale. In association with Singapore Art Museum. Singapore.

*Red Fringe, public commission for Parkside Place Cambridge, commissioned by Grosvenor. Cambridge, UK.


*Light Veils, public commission for the 2012 Olympic Games, commissioned by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. Weymouth. UK.

*Weir, Finalist for the Pier 27 Public Art Project. In association with Public Art Management. Toronto, Canada.


*Mute Meadow, public commission. Winner of the ‘Foyle Public Art Project’. Commissioned by Ilex. Derry ~ Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

*Coronium, public commission for Kilden, The New Performing Arts Centre. In association with KORO. Kristiansand, Norway.


*Canopy of Light, winning artists for the new Woolwich Squares art commission. With art consultants Modus Operandi. Greenwich Borough Council. London, UK.


*Light Curtain, public commission for the new Hull Truck Theatre building, Hull, UK. In association with Andrew Knight art consultant.

*‘Unreal Asia’, 55th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany.

*The Tropics, the National Gallery of Cape Town. South Africa.*Light Skin, winning artists for the Olympic Energy Centre commission, London. In association with CIA art consultants.


*‘All that’s solid melts into air’ (Karl Marx)’ Video installation. The Light Box, Tate Britain, London, UK

*The Tropics, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany.

*Northern Light, winning artists for the Channel 4 Big Art Project, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

*All the world is two, public commission for Broadmead development, commissioned by Bristol Alliance. In association with Insite Arts art consultants. Bristol, UK.

*Vocal Chords, winning artists for Thomas Tallis School commisson. In association with Modus Operandi Art Consultants. Greenwich, London, UK


*Topography of Dreams, temporary public commission for Birmingham Festival, Birmingham, UK


*The Animators, The Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham, UK.

*‘All that’s solid melts into air (Karl Marx)’, video installation (Tate collection) commissioned by The Quiet in the Land. The Royal Palace Museum, Luang Prabang, Lao PDR.


Ash and Silk Wall, public commission for Kirkpatrick and Lockhart, Washington DC, USA. 

*Bay Windows, temporary public commission for Canterbury City Council as part of ‘Sparks – ‘Make it Real’ cultural programme. Herne Bay, UK.

*Life Lines, public commission for Pier Hill, commissioned by Southend City Council, in association with Commissions East Art Consultants. Southend On Sea, UK.


*Outhouse, public sculpture / architecture commission for Liverpool Housing Action Trust / Guinness Trust. In association with Modus Operandi Art consultants, Liverpool, UK.


*Pipe Dream, public commission for City and Islington College, in association with Modus Operandi Art consultants. London, UK.

*Pools of Light, Consultant artists for the redevelopment of Poole Harbour with Idea Architects and B+B UK Landscapers, Poole Harbour, UK.

*Atopia, commissioned work for DAAD Publications, Berlin, Germany.


Field of Labels, public commission for the Scottish National Park, Loch Lomond, Scotland.

Steam Field, a public commission for the Bath City Centre/Spa Redevelopment Project, in collaboration with Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners Architects.


Field of Rods, public commission for McKinsey Commission for 30 Kensington Church Street, London. Currently housed at the Cass Sculpture Foundation at Goodwood, UK.

Skylines, public commission for the Forestry Commission, ‘Sculpture at Tyrebagger’, Aberdeen, Scotland.


*Scan, video installation in collaboration with Vong Phaophanit and Greg Pope, commissioned by Rosemary Butcher Dance Company. First shown at Jerwood Gallery, London followed by European Tour. London Film Makers Coop, UK. 


Azure Neon Body, public commission for the Cass Foundation for Sculpture at Goodwood, UK.


Line Writing, public commission for The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland.


Ash and Silk Wall, public commission for Greenwich Thames Barrier Park Project, commissioned by Greenwich Borough Council, in association with Public Art Development Trust, London, UK.

Solo Exhibitions


‘All that’s solid melts into air’ (Karl Marx)’ Video installation. The Light Box, Tate Britain, London, UK.


Neon Wax Words, Commission at the Asia Society, New York, USA.

Centre for Drawing, Wimbledon School of Art, London, UK.


Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK.


Atopia, Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, London, UK.


Atopia, DAAD, Berlin, Germany.


Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK.


Phaophanit and Piper, Touring Exhibition:

Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham, UK.

Site Gallery, Sheffield, UK.

Cambridge Darkroom, Cambridge, UK.

The Minories, Colchester, UK.


Neon Rice Field, (Turner Prize exhibition), Tate Gallery, London, UK.


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


tok tem dean kep kin bo dai (what falls to the ground but can’t be eaten), Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK.


In the shadow of words, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK.

Owls during the day, foxes at night, TSWA, Four Cities Project, Plymouth, UK.


Just A Moment, Fragments, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, UK.


Just A Moment, Tea Ceremony, Spacex Gallery, Exeter, UK.


Acqua Pittura, Espace Sextius, Aix en Provence, France.

Group Exhibitions

(Collborative work between Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier *)



Third Dimension Sculpture – British Council Collection. Canterbury, Sidney Cooper Gallery, UK


The Third Dimension, Munsterland Festival 2011. GALERIE MUNSTERLAND, Emsdetten, Germany


*Outside In, SW1 Gallery, London. UK


Unreal Asia, 55th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany.

*The Tropics, the National Gallery of Cape Town. South Africa.


tok tem dean kep kin bo dai (what falls to the ground but can’t be eaten), Tate Britain’s New Acquisition show. Tate Britain. London


*The Tropics, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany.


Neon, National Glass Centre, Sunderland, UK.


Turner Prize A Retrospective 1984-2006, The Tate Britain, London, UK.

*Inspiration to Order touring show:

               Winchester Gallery, Winchester, UK.

Winchester School Of Art, Winchester, UK.

Wimbledon College of Art, London, UK.

California State University, Stanislaus, USA.

*Thermocline of Art, New Asian Waves. ZKM, Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany.


*The Quiet in the Land, Luang Prabang, Lao PDR.

The 6th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea.


*The Animators, Arts Council Touring Exhibition:

Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham, UK.

SPACEX Gallery, Exeter, UK.

Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, UK.


Peripheral Vision, Void Gallery, Derry, N. Ireland.


Shangnghai Bienale, China.


Process of Renewal, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


East of Eden, Spacex Gallery, Exeter, UK.

Double Vision, Leipzig, Germany.


Dimensions Variable – Touring show (British Council):

National Theatre Galleries, Bucharest, Romania

Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia

Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary

Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania

Institute Mathildenhohe, Darmstadt, Germany

Third Asia-Pacific Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia.

From There to Here – Art from London, Konsthallen Göteburg, Sweden.


Dimensions Variable – Touring show (British Council):

Zagreb Union Of Croatian Artists, Zagreb, Croatia

Prague National Gallery Of Modern Art, Prague, Czech Republic

Stadtische Kunstsammlungen, Chemnitz, Germany

Zacheta Gallery, Warsaw, Poland

Soros Foundation, Kiev, Ukraine

Royal Academy Of Free Arts, Stockholm, Sweden

Crossings, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada (catalogue).


Dimensions Variable – Touring show (British Council):

Helsinki City Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland

Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa (catalogue).

Pictura Britannica, British Council, Sydney, Australia (catalogue).

From Light, Richard Salmon, London; Spacex Gallery, Exeter, UK.


Inclusion:Exclusion, Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria (catalogue).


De Appel, Amsterdam (catalogue).

Weltkunst Collection, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.


Loss and Renewal, Honiton Festival, Devon, UK.

From beyond the pale, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Republic of Ireland (catalogue).

Cocido y Crudo, Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain (catalogue).


Prospect ‘93, Frankfurt, Germany.

Four Rooms, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK.

Sonsbeek 93, Arnhem, Netherlands.

Aperto, Biennale di Venezia, Italy.

Ha-Ha, Killerton Park, Devon, UK.


Molteplici Culture, Rome, Italy (catalogue).


Shocks to the System, Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition,

Royal Festival Hall, London

Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, Sunderland

Ikon Gallery, Birmingham

Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff

Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter

City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth

Maclaurin Art Gallery, Ayr


From Moment to Moment, Cambridge Darkroom, Cambridge, UK.

The British Art Show 1990,

McLellan Galleries, Glasgow, Scotland.

Leeds City Art Gallery, UK.

Hayward Gallery, London, UK.

Ouverture Internationale, Bergen Kunstfroening, Norway.


Ouverture Internationale, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Awards and Residencies


Residency for The Quiet in the Land, Luang Prabang, PDR Lao, curated by France Morin.


Award winner of the Art and Work Award 2002 for site-specific work with Gensler Architects.


Lead Artist for a public commission for the Bath City Centre/Spa Redevelopment Project, in collaboration with Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners Architects.

RSC Award, collaboration between artists and architects, Museum of Slavery, Hull.

Fellowship at The Centre for Drawing. Wimbledon School of Art, London


Nominated for the Paul Hamlyn Prize.


Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst Berliner Künstlerprogramm (DAAD) Scholarship Berlin.


Nominated for the Turner Prize.

Catalogues / Books / Films

(Collborative work between Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier *)


breaking the mould, Cass Sculpture Foundation, Catalogue, UK.

*Visual Art In Kilden, Catalogue, published by KORO, Norway.


Art in Public Spaces: the archive of the PADT, Henry Moore Institute plublication.


*The Tropics, Views from the Middle of the Globe. Goethe-institut / Kerber Art. Berlin.


*Thermocline of Art, Catalogue. New Asian Waves. ZKM.

*Inspiration to Order, Catalogue


Vong Phaophanit, a profile – part of the EYE series by Illuminations productions. Film DVD

*Sparks, Insite Arts publication.

*The Animators, catalogue, The Angel Row Gallery Notingham.


The Sculpture 100 – Englands Public Sculpture 1905-2005, film by Illuminations productions.


*Atopia by Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier, DAAD Publications, Berlin.

*Vong Phaophanit, in 20th Century British Sculpture, Henry Moore Institute Publications, Leeds, UK.


Contemporary Art Commissions At The Asia Society And Museum. Catalogue, New York, USA.

*Transmission: Speaking and Listening, Sheffield Hallam University, Site Gallery.

Acts of Renewel:Japanese Art Re-Interpreted, Victoria and Albert Museum.


*The Centre for Drawing: the first year, Wimbledon School of Art, London.

Double Vision, Gallery für zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany.


From There to Here, Konsthallen Göteburg, Sweden.

*To truly see something we must forget its name, The Third Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery Publications, Australia.


Crossings, National Gallery of Canada.

*Atopia, South Bank Publications, London.


Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa.

*Ash and Silk Wall, Public Art Development Trust Publications, London.

Pictura Britannica, British Council, Sydney, Australia.


Inclusion:Exclusion, Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria.


Cocido y Crudo, The Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid.

Phaophanit and Piper, Bristol, England. *From Light, Chambers Publications, Bristol, UK.

*Synaesthesia WIF Publications.

Vong Phaophanit, De Appel, Amsterdam, Holland. *Things are the secret folds of my flesh, De Appel Publications, 


Loss and Renewal, published by Honiton Festival 1994

*Synaesthetic Writing, Nottingham French Studies, vol 33, no.2, (Autumn).

From Beyond the Pale, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.


Documentary Notes, PADT Ash and Silk Wall, London, UK

Prospect ‘93, Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany.

Sonsbeek 93, Arnhem, Holland.

Four Rooms, Serpentine Gallery, London.

Venice Biennale 1993, Aperto, Venice, Italy.

Ha-Ha, Killerton Park, England.

Turner Prize, Tate Gallery, London.


Moltiplici Culture, Rome, Italy.

Public Art Development Trust, London, UK.


tok tem dean kep kin bo dai (what falls to the ground but can’t be eaten), Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK.

Shocks to the System, Arts Council Collection, The South Bank Centre, London UK.


Ouverture Internationale in Bergen, Bergen Kunstforening, Norway.

TSWA, Four Cities Project, New works for different places. Plymouth, UK.

*What falls to the ground but can’t be eaten, Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK.

The British Art Show 1990, The South Bank Centre, London, UK.

Teaching / Lectures / Symposia


OCAD – Ontario College of Art and Design: The Making of Sense

The Rosewell Lecture: What do artists have to give?

Sussex University Art Lectures: The Making of Sense


Imperial War Museum: ‘Post-Conflict’ Culture: Derry ~ Londonderry


Visiting artist (MA programme), Camberwell College of Art.


RSA – Royal Society of Arts: The Place of Art

Royal Academy Lectures: Sculpture and Architecture: The Contest to Control Space and Meaning


Visiting lecturer at Wimbledon School of Art, Chelsea College of Art and Design and University of East London.


Regular visiting tutor and external examiner, University of the West of England, Exeter.


Lecture at Glasgow School of Art



Member of the board of Trustees of Spike Island, Bristol.


Purchaser for the Arts Council Collection.


Member of the Advisory Panel for the Art Projects Committee at the Arts Council of Great Britain and the Greater London Arts Association.