The Mystery Of The Lady In Red 紅女郎傳說
Surface Tensions 2020
Part 1: Alt-Truths, More Than Fiction
From Macau (China), Hio Lam Lei is an artist who works primarily with moving-image and sculpture. In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown, Hio spent over a month in Folkestone in an artist residency to create a new piece of moving image work – a mockumentary entitled ’The Mystery of Lady in Red’. Drawing from post-colonial theories, the work explores the sense of disorientation experienced when she tries to relocate through personal history, the cultural heritage of her ethnicity, and gender in the UK. Foreign, Asian, Chinese and female, the image of the ‘Lady in Red’ manifests a resistance to the pre-conceived and stereotyped identity of a particular social group, and the moving-image work narrates the myths surrounding self-concealment and self-discovery.
The work-in-progress installation was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the implementation of social distancing. Opening as part of May 2020’s Last Fridays Folkestone event, audiences were able to catch a preview of Hio’s work throughout the evenings in the week leading up to it’s opening when passing Tontine Street during their daily exercise.
The production is supported by Instituto Cultural de Macau.
Gallery Image Credit:
[1-4]: Film stills from ‘The Mystery of the Lady in Red’ by Hio
: Nina Shen-Poblete
Hio Lam Lei is a multidisciplinary artist working across sculpture, moving image, printmaking, photography and text making. She currently lives and works in Macau, China. Her current research looks into one’s formation of subjectivity, and how linguistic structurisation shapes one’s perception of self and identity, particularly within the context of post-colonial studies and feminist theory.
ST20 Part I: ‘Alt-Truths, More than Fiction’ – Female-led Expanded Cinema is a site for experimentation & activism. Running from April – June 2020, the programme brings together five artists working in the expanded field of moving image: Hio Lam Lei, Sharon Daniel, Hijack, Jing Xie and Renèe Helèna Brown. Using the format of ‘documentaries’ and through a feminist epistemological lens, they freely and playfully juxtapose narratives, myths, archival materials and personal testimonies, using devices such as satire & fictive constructions to explore the unstable nature of perceived realities, cultural identities, structural racism, consumption, romance, and our relationships to Western nationalism.
Surface Tensions 2020 is curated by Nina Shen-Poblete and Tomas Poblete, produced by CT20
The project is kindly supported by Arts Council England, Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and Creative Folkestone.
Artist in Conversation: Hio Lam Lei – ‘Post-colonialism, Nationalism & the Search for the Feminine Image’
Against the backdrop of an eerily deserted Creative Quarter amidst the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, CT20’s co-director, Nina Shen-Poblete speaks with Surface Tensions 2020 artist Hio, tracing personal histories, language & heritage to explore the porous nature of cultural identities: on what it means to be Chinese and a woman today.