Born, in Savannakhet, Laos in 1961, Vong Phaophanit was educated in Paris and later studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Aix en Provence, France. He met and married Claire Oboussier while they were both still students, moved to the UK in 1985 and became a British citizen in 1993. There he began to experiment with a wide range of media subsequently exhibiting widely nationally and internationally.
Phaophanit is best 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 short-listed for the Turner Prize and in 1994 was awarded the DAAD fellowship in Berlin. 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.
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. His work is held in major collections around the world including the Tate Gallery, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, The British Council Collection and The Arts Council Collection. His most recent exhibitions were at Shanghai Biennale 2004, Void Gallery in Derry in 2005, The Quiet in the Land, Luang Prabang in 2006, and Gropius Bau Museum, Berlin ('The Tropics') in 2008
Born in London and brought up in Devon, Claire Oboussier studied at the University of Sussex and graduated in 1986. She met and married Vong Phaophanit during a year studying in Paris in 1985. She went on to gain the Dyment and Thomas Scholarship for Doctoral Research in the Arts and Humanities at the University of Bristol where she also helped set up and run the Interdisciplinary Critical Theory seminar for faculty. Claire's doctoral thesis, completed in 1995, on French critical theory in the visual field explored the poetic and theoretical intersections of the visual and verbal realms.
Since then she has gone on to use a range of media from the written/spoken word to film, sound and sculptural elements in her own practice and has produced a range of publications and catalogue essays. From 1998-2002 she was a member of the Executive Committee for MAKE and subsequently became an editorial advisor for MAKE magazine. In 2006 she was a Panel member for Birmingham City Hospital new art commission. She is currently working experimentally with digital images and sounds from Prisons for a multi-screen installation entitled 'Doing Time'. She has also written extensively on, and in parallel with, Phaophanit's work and collaborated with him on the film 'All that's solid melts into air (Karl Marx)' for which she wrote the text.