Venus Vanitas / Seriously Damaged by Attack / Self-portrait with Slasher Mary - from the series Shoulder to Shoulder (installation view)
love is... (partial installation view of the 451 returns from 7000+ postcards that were hand-delivered around London and the West Midlands over 2 yrs)
I’m an artist based in London and the West Midlands. Having been born in Hong Kong to British parents, I have always lived in more than one place at any given time.
Initially studying the social sciences at Edinburgh University I went on to graduate from Nottingham Trent University with a 1st Class Honours degree in Photography. Further study included MA courses in Film Studies and an MFA Art Practice from Goldsmiths.
In 2011 I won the International Salon Photo Prize and was awarded a solo show at Matt Roberts Gallery in London. My first solo exhibition at Street Level Photoworks ran in conjunction with Glasgow International Festival of Contemporary Art 2008. Playing and Reality, a retrospective of my works over the last ten years, was shown at Forum fur Fotografie in Cologne in early 2016. At the same time my work was featured in London Art Fair’s Photo50 exhibition Feminine Masculine, curated by Federica Chiocchetti.
In 2015 the curatorial team Day and Gluckman selected my series Shoulder to Shoulder for their show Liberties, an exhibition of contemporary art reflecting on 40 years since the sex discrimination act. Having originally shown at Collyer Bristow Gallery in London the show then toured to The Exchange Gallery Penzance, in 2017.
In thinking about my work I continually return to the same questions: “Why do we tell stories? What stories are left to tell? How do we tell them? Why are the tools never adequate? What are the tools? How will I use them?”
I work with both digital and analogue technologies to create photographic constructs that are and are not what they seem. At times my pieces aim to challenge the veracity of the photographic portrait finding an authenticity in a notion of self-portraiture that involves acting. Referencing both historical events and characters as well as those from popular culture, individual works have a narrative content but are less concerned with straight forward story-telling than with holding the attention of the viewer for long enough – in a time when images come at us like sheet rain – for thought.
In my work I am keen not to confer a hierarchy on cultural practices and simply ask when a certain process or approach might be useful. This has led to the re-use of carefully selected cultural artefacts. Initially these were personal, such as letters, diary excerpts and family snap-shots. Over the course of the last eight years the emphasis has shifted to the use of more public cultural products like films and magazine articles and then to historical narratives and archive images. The process of re-presenting these varies depending on the chosen material. It is always something that emerges over time and begins with the act of collection. There is a sense in which I am asking the viewer to look again at something, which because of its shift of context, may also invoke a shift in meaning.
Intersecting my practice is the element of performance, which is rooted in questions of identity, in how we are constructed as human beings and the lexicon of languages we must adapt to and adopt to survive. Further, in what we look to and re-fashion, as individuals, in terms of constructing ourselves.
In all, my driving concerns remain constant: an exploration of the individual as a physical and psychological collage; a study of the ways in which we are simultaneously created and self-creating, of the ways our world and the self entwines.