Hou Lam Tsui 徐皓霖 x RNH Space: 

Plastic Love

我迷失在.* 這場﹍×°愛情遊戲

25 January - 18 February 2021

Curatorial Statement

Plastic Love is RNH Space’s first online programme, presenting art practitioner and zine maker Hou Lam Tsui’s new body of art. Loosely using her own personal experiences as a point of departure, Tsui reimagines unrequited, sick love through a series of drawings, moving images, and poetry, to unfold and explore lovelornness and obsession from the perspective of female gaze. As a social-media-based virtual exhibition, this programme not only practises visualisation in cyberspace, but also challenges psychological boundaries in this realm that often restrict the expression of unorthodox sentiments.

The legendary Japanese ero-guro singer Jun Togawa is well known for challenging the societal expectations of gender, femininity and idols, through her exaggerated, tortured and erotic interpretation of love in her music. Being influenced by a female figure as such, Tsui Hou Lam, as an female artist, takes an extreme and unruly stance whilst introduces the conventionalised hyperfeminine approaches in her artistic practice, in an attempt of reweaving the net that connects twisted love, masochism, female gaze, sexual desire and the most basic emotions of love. The body of exhibits, to be presented in the pattern of a drawing, a moving image and a poem every series of three series, intentionally strikes a chord with those venturous romanticists in the audience.

Interestingly, the Chinese title of the programme chosen by the artist is borrowing the prominent subculture, namely ‘MK Culture’, prevalent amongst Hong Kong local youth since early 2000s, with the terms often loosely related to marginalised social groups in a negative way. ‘MK’ is also extensively used to define the trendy love expressions created and used by the advocates of such culture, characterised as posturing, tacky, warped and even rebellious in terms of both the languages and the emotions. Nowadays as the farcical and awkward MK Culture came to decline, or extremely transformed, it lives on in the form of alternative classics and nostalgic aesthetics. Given that Tsui is intrigued by MK Culture and its vulgar aesthetics, she demonstrates these elements in the theme and the works of this programme, including appropriation of fashionable memes, trying to transcend the so-called inferior and inelegant philosophy then praise the unshameful human emotions of dysfunctional infatuation.

Artworks will be posted with a series of prose fiction written by the curator Yang Jiang and a playlist of the ’80s/’90s cheesy pop songs co-curated by Tsui and Jiang.

「我迷失在.* 這場﹍×°愛情遊戲」為RNH Space首個線上展覽,呈獻藝術創作人兼小誌創作人徐皓霖的最新作品。取材自個人經歷,徐氏以繪畫、流動影像和詩作重新想像不求回報的、扭曲且卑微的愛,並以女性凝視的角度抽絲剝繭,探索種種單戀和癡戀。是次計劃以社交媒體展覽的形式呈現,在網絡邏輯體系下實踐視覺傳遞的同時,亦試圖挑戰網絡世界話語權失衡的格局,與社會對情感表達的約束。




About Hou Lam Tsui 徐皓霖

Hou Lam Tsui is a Hong Kong-based art practitioner and zine maker. Her practice centres on personal experience and feminism. She received a BA in Fine Art and History of Art at the University of Leeds, UK.
Selected consignment stores and reading places of her zines include Printed Matter (New York), Motto (Berlin), Pon Ding (Taipei), Book B (Hong Kong), and Asia Art Archive (Hong Kong).

徐皓霖是一位藝術創作人和小誌創作人,現居香港。她的創作圍繞私密經歷及女性主義。畢業於英國列斯大學獲藝術及藝術史(Fine Art and History of Art)文學士。
部分寄賣點以及閱覽點包括:Printed Matter(紐約)、Motto(柏林)、朋丁(台北)、Book B(香港)和亞洲藝術文獻庫(香港)。

𝗧𝘀𝘂𝗶 𝗛𝗼𝘂 𝗟𝗮𝗺, 𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙩𝙡𝙚𝙙, 2021, graphite on paper

Honey, this is a book about lovelornness and obsession. The drawings, moving images, poetry, songs and prose fiction will show you it is ok if love hurts you.

Actually, this is perhaps the best way to get hurt.

𝗧𝘀𝘂𝗶 𝗛𝗼𝘂 𝗟𝗮𝗺, 𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙩𝙡𝙚𝙙, 2021, digital collage
Handwritten text: Clara Wong

《我只要妖冶和卑微》Coquettish and Lowly Are All I Want

徐皓霖 著, Written by Tsui Hou Lam

摘錄Excerpt :

蝴蝶死了 卻永遠無法灰飛煙滅 那樣莊嚴
魔法少女 勝過魔法使

Your leg touched my leg, in my dream, I woke
Butterfly be killed, never to ashes, solemn as it has always been
I wanted to be a witch, more than to be
A mahō shōjo, let alone a sorceress

*mahō shōjo: magical girl

𝗧𝘀𝘂𝗶 𝗛𝗼𝘂 𝗟𝗮𝗺
(𝘾𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙤𝙙𝙞𝙩𝙮𝙇𝙤𝙫𝙚), 2021
Moving images

𝗧𝘀𝘂𝗶 𝗛𝗼𝘂 𝗟𝗮𝗺, 𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙩𝙡𝙚𝙙, 2021, Graphite On Paper

Affection trapped in a 20th century computer -

Having trouble keeping up communication. Tired of anyone telling me to be patient.

𝗧𝘀𝘂𝗶 𝗛𝗼𝘂 𝗟𝗮𝗺, 𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙩𝙡𝙚𝙙, 2021, digital collage
Handwritten text: Clara Wong

《𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙩𝙡𝙚𝙙 》

徐皓霖 著, Written by Tsui Hou Lam

摘錄Excerpt :


Over and over again, I was practising a conjuration to be able to hate you
For which I prepared a black cat, a broom, potions, and glitter

𝗧𝘀𝘂𝗶 𝗛𝗼𝘂 𝗟𝗮𝗺
《bb 我真係好傷心呀》
(𝙗𝙖𝙚, 𝙞 ’𝙢 𝙨𝙤 𝙨𝙖𝙙 ), 2021
Moving images

Bae, now I feel so sad whenever I look out from a window and see the sea.

𝗧𝘀𝘂𝗶 𝗛𝗼𝘂 𝗟𝗮𝗺, 𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙩𝙡𝙚𝙙, 2021, Graphite On Paper

Here’s a joke:

My Medieval moonish lover, you’re allowed to do anything to me.

When you murdered me out of sheer boredom, I feel nothing.

I separated from my flesh and blood. Yawn.

𝗧𝘀𝘂𝗶 𝗛𝗼𝘂 𝗟𝗮𝗺, 𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙩𝙡𝙚𝙙, 2021, digital collage
Handwritten text: Clara Wong

《我忘掉,還淚》I forgot about that, the tears I once owed

徐皓霖 著, Written by Tsui Hou Lam

摘錄Excerpt :

I aspire, in this life, to become an idol singer
Wearing candy pink bubble skirt, and elbow-length black gloves, my back
Being sewn on massive plastic dragonfly wings, my raspy girly voice
when I belt out won’t become trendy until a hundred years later
Foolish as I am, I don’t think of infatuation as out of fashion
I plan it as my next performance art, for you exclusively, site-specific
But you said why I can’t just be like Akina Nakamori

𝗧𝘀𝘂𝗶 𝗛𝗼𝘂 𝗟𝗮𝗺
《bb 我頭先發咗個狂熱夢》
(𝙗𝙖𝙚, 𝙞 𝙬𝙤𝙠𝙚 𝙪𝙥 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙖 𝙛𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙙𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙢), 2021
Moving images

No matter how much I loved you, how hard I tried, The Iguazu Falls would never see you and me together.

(Prose fiction by 𝗬𝗮𝗻𝗴 𝗝𝗶𝗮𝗻𝗴)

Chapter 1. The love, a mutation

Chapter 2. ‘Eros’ , daily

Chapter 3. Kiss, destroys lips

Chapter 4. My love, transcends

Chapter 5. The Avici hell

Chapter 1. The love, a mutation






Chapter 2. ‘Eros’ , daily





Chapter 3. Kiss, destroys lips







Chapter 4. My love, transcends





Chapter 5. The Avici hell






Chapter 1. The love, a mutation

I am not crying. It is just me, all stiff, standing here, wishing if only I were dead, then I could spend all of eternity with you.

You are a mahō shōjo from a higher dimension. You are not a villain in this story, whilst your two canine teeth are not for chewing flesh of human. When you smile, you know, your canine teeth show a little bit of the tips from behind your lip, so cute as to melt my heart. Unlike the human brain which can only develop up to 5% of its capacity, a much boarder range of knowledge you have is beyond human’s grasp, making you contemptuous of all the stupid and self-deceiving human matters, except for one thing - guitar. You came all the way to Earth just to learn to play guitar, for the sad melody will only please you.

You have always been like this. If you cannot have fun out of something, it will make you unhappy. Nevertheless, whilst you are chasing happiness, darkness and sadness are chasing you. You just enjoy such dynamics.

As for me, I own a tiny but sunny island kingdom with merely more than a dozen people dwelling here. Outside of this kingdom, no one knows me, nor does anyone think highly of me. As the queen of a kingdom, I am just too young and too soft.

I sometimes hate that I am too weak, but you told me that I am not weak, that I just love people with a soft heart.

Chapter 2. ‘Eros’ , daily

Normally running a micro company can already be challenging, just so you know ruling a micro kingdom is nothing easier than that. Besides the interference and defiance from other kingdoms, there is also the lack of loyalty from my own people, who disobey and always try to abandon me. I felt discouraged and realised that sunlight is not nourishing all living things as we thought, especially not human hearts.

Insisting that I deserve more respect, you came to build castles and rampart for me, to establish a sense of home so as to empower my authority. Magically, my people have been more tame ever since, and our neighbours have frequently sent ambassadors to visit. I know you were using magic to tackle all these problems, and you must have enchanted me in high dosage. All I feel is that you are a gift for me from heaven…

You seem more and more important to me. I still remember when I first met you, you were playing guitar and humming love songs, so soft and gentle as if you were a warm bubble containing and warming everything in it, including my heart. I just knew immediately that you are softer inside than how you appear.

Every time I close my eyes, I can see your glowing soft skin, in my imagination. The happiest dream I have ever dreamt is that I was cuddling you, wrapping my legs around yours,  gently and silently for a long, long while.

Chapter 3. Kiss, destroys lips

I crave for your support, and I just want you to stay with me always. Until one day, I realised that your life by default relies on a kind of drug from your original dimension. No wonder you are slimming down and pining away here without it. I think this is so wrong, and I feel really sorry for you.

I think maybe I can feed you foods like feeding a baby, so that you can grow healthier on our sunny island, and I will definitely protect you. You laugh and think that I am obviously making a move on you. Yes, I am, and I really want to kiss you if I can.

You are stubborn somehow, and just resist any food. Your health is therefore going downhill. Feeling painful for you being like this, I lose sleep every night and cannot eat either. I originally thought that the human body is a very healthy and nourished life form, and I thought as long as you gradually gain flesh and bones you will be better protected. Now look at me, however, rotten in my own skin. How funny is that?

“You don’t like the taste of foods?" I wonder.

“It has nothing to do with the foods.” Gazing at the sea out of the window, you sigh, unable to say another word.

I tell you to take your time and have a think.

Chapter 4. My love, transcends

After 44,640 minutes of a lot of thinking, you come to a decision that it is better for you to go back. After all, here is no home to you.

I say please don’t. PLEASE. If you leave, my kingdom will go back to where it was just a construction of the nihility.

However, this is where the problem lies. The kingdom was, is, and has always been founded on no solid base, you think, and I am not someone that is any more grounded either, pointing to the fact that all these that appear to be nice are just floating without root, granting no foundation for love to grow. "To describe in your human terms, I need to feel that I am steadily flesh and blood, in which case I actually need to stay away from real human flesh and blood, if that makes sense! Human love is so superficial that it takes many lifetimes to practise - the so-called karma. The universal love, instead, is the authentic and healthy love that my dimension values. So you see, I don’t need your love, and I cannot foresee that one day I will love you.”

I finally understand that your appearance in my life is just an ephemera, not lasting but just long enough for you to be my short-term salvation.

Chapter 5. The Avici hell

My mind has some clarity, but the emotional chaos is totally ruling me.

I have experienced too many so-called "ephemerals" and the aftershocks were always painful. However, now you are defined as "my pain" which becomes the most painful experience in my life. You were my happiness, my love, you warmed my heart and became the softest spot in that heart. Now it is all gone.

“The feeling of sadness over something that failed to happen is somehow beautiful.” You give me one last hug, then leave. The void left behind cannot bear even a silent goodbye.

Considering regretful things as beautiful is a kind of self-abuse. What I regret the most is that I never got to kiss you in this life. I am not crying. It is just me, all stiff, standing here, wishing if only I were dead, then I could spend all of eternity with you.

The end.

Poems by Hou Lam Tsui and prose fiction by Yang Jiang above are published in book Plastic Love (待機愛)

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