All posts filed under: Book reviews

Event Scores by Artists-Parents 事件譜之又係藝術家又係阿爸阿媽

Published by Rooftop Institute 出版社:天台塾 /Ysabelle Cheung / There is a backwater thought that once an artist (usually female, according to patriarchal hierarchies) bears children, they become somewhat infertile in their creative practices. “After I gave birth, some people apparently thought that I had retired to take care of my child,” Wong Wai Yin once stated in an article. In truth, she had only taken a five-year hiatus from traditional exhibition-making. Then, in 2016, she produced Without Trying, a monumental solo exhibition at Spring Workshop that revealed her engagements in entirely new creative practices as a result of motherhood: learning French, dog training, spiritual response therapy and playing the ukulele. This peeling away from the art world circuit and its capitalist expectations can be liberating, a fact that Wong and 48 other Hong Kong-based artist-parents reveal in Event Scores by Artists-Parents. Published by Rooftop Institute and grouped into six chapters, the contributions document in writing and photographs the co-learning experiences that occur daily between artists and their children, reframed playfully as highly experimental “event scores” or “instructional …

Besiege Me

Nicholas Wong 黃裕邦 / Noemi Press, 2021年 /Jacqueline Leung 梁婉揚 / In Besiege Me, Nicholas Wong’s latest poetry collection, physical desire belies existential trauma. The word “besiege” refers to a city under attack, but also to the self as a space in which different forces – family, love, politics – exert influence. How does one come to be? “When you gave a few pushes on my mom / to give me manhood & a prostate, you also gave me a natal chart & some bones to break / in the years of fire. Maybe I feet head no good / (brought bad luck).” These lines are from Intergenerational, a poem that comes early in the book and reads like an overture of tension coursing through the pages. The narrator, now grown and financially able, takes care of his aged, ailing parents. Through the simple chores of bringing clothes to the hospital and watching TV, Wong describes embodying an identity that constantly needs to be explained, like having to clarify which name is one’s family name at Immigration; otherwise, one remains …

Library 圖書館

By Chihoi 智海 /Published by nos:books, 2019 出版社:nos:books,2019年 /Ysabelle Cheung The day I visited Chihoi’s exhibition at ACO Art Space in Wanchai, it was strangely quiet. Both the security guard and docent were absent; I stood alone with the drawings and comic panels, which were pinned to soft fabric boards in pastel hues. After a while, a woman arrived and asked if I wanted to visit “the reading room” for a fee of HK$10. I agreed and was handed a key, which unlocked a small closet near the entrance. Inside I found a small school desk, a vintage lamp and a chair. There was a womb-like, conspirational feeling to the cabinet, augmented by the room’s central object: an unpublished, hidden chapter from Chihoi’s latest book, Library. Chihoi, a Hong Kong-born artist, has been publishing fictional comics since 1996. Rendering his figures and landscapes in soft graphite tones – blacks rubbed silver from shading, the pages suffused with a sooty pallor – he has often referenced literature in his work, from his debut book, The Writer (1997), about a …

Aftershock: Essays from Hong Kong

ed. Holmes Chan / Published by Small Tune Press, 2020 / Jacqueline Leung /   The cover is a photograph of an ordinary pavement in Hong Kong: to fill in the holes where old bricks had been dug up by protesters, concrete was poured to ensure it couldn’t happen again, creating uneven surfaces that look like hastily patched-up scars. In the year-long discord that has rocked the city to its core, Hong Kong has not been given space to heal. Newspapers and commentators have covered the protests extensively, but their words are analytical, aiming to explain and speculate about the city’s future, while readers at home, particularly those whose realities are built on the English language, struggle to find representations of months of disenfranchised grief. Not enough has been written about Hong Kong’s trauma in the past year, and Aftershock: Essays from Hong Kong is one of the publications starting to fill that gap. Edited by Holmes Chan, the collection features essays by 11 young journalists reporting for multiple news outlets – one contributor was doxxed by mainland Chinese …