Download the THE GHOST OF SISTER PING catalogue
The artwork was conceived of as a film script many years ago when I had just moved to the Hong Kong New Territories to start working as associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. It was an ideal fantasy tale in my head involving a desperate love story and a wandering ghost. The tale started changing shape when I became used to traversing our university campus as a (sometimes frustrated) scholar and when I started hiking near the abandoned village of Kuk Po in the Northeastern new territories.
These two places evoked a lot of feeling in me about the topic of the artwork–the invention of Chinese ghosts as a way of dealing with sexual desires and intellectual or artistic satisfaction. The artwork by Kacey Wong also complements this enquiry as it is devoted to animal sensibilities and transcends the idea of human perception more radically.
Chinese ghost fictions have dealt with themes of post-humanism and subliminal knowledge for many centuries. I was happy to try to make a small contribution when receiving the support of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies at CUHK.
In the months preceding the exhibition I experienced illness and death in my family and I almost started to hate the naïve and nostalgic-romantic flavor of this ghost story. But this final dark phase need not be the sole way of experiencing it, as Sister Ping does not exist, and is the outcome of a large artistic collaboration and multiple desires that cannot always be reconciled.
“The Ghost of Sister Ping” Exhibition Time & Venue:
27 October 2017 – 17 November 2017, 12pm – 7pm (Mon-Sat)
@ Videotage, Cattle Depot, To Kwa Wan
The Ghost of Sister Ping is an art work and multi-media installation based on a reinterpretation of historical Chinese ghost fictions, filmed on location in Hong Kong’s northeastern New Territories. The artwork presents the frustrated romance of a young academic lecturer, Sister Ping, as a looping montage of her life accompanied by a soundtrack of her powerfully ethereal and sexy voice. Visitors are welcome to join the love journey of Sister Ping, feeling her love affair more closely by touching her clothes and peeping into the bedroom of her ex-lover, who deserted her for a male lover and homme fatale, Fritz.
Who is Sister Ping, and who is Professor Moenen?
Ping is a lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who dies and becomes a ghost after she is abandoned by her lover, Professor Moenen. She is a female sexualized character of traditional ghost stories who is here appropriated within a framework of women’s erotic fantasies and queer bodily affect. The ghost is an unhinged entity who has died and wanders around in a post-human realm. Her excessive sexual desires cannot be wholly fulfilled by humans and certainly do not lead to reproduction.
In order to give a twist to our story of Sister Ping, we also borrowed from a 16th century Flemish miracle play, Marike van Nieumeghen. This play was performed in Flemish community squares around the same time that China saw the heyday of its ghost stories in the Ming and early Ching Dynasty (1580-1700). Marike is a fragile woman who is seduced by an evil male force, Moenen, when he disguises himself as a scholar. In one of her moments of distress and anxiety, Moenen appears to her and promises to teach her all human languages and seven “free art forms” except the one of black magic. The devil is like a Chinese ghost who tries to convince the human to transgress and to walk away from traditional domains of knowledge. The tale is about the seven years of Marike and her lover, a fantastic tale with a bleak ending that was supposed to hold up a negative mirror to society. In our own story, we have adapted Chinese and Flemish folklore to suit modern queer sensibilities and erotic cravings.
The exhibition will also feature work from Kacey Wong. Further details to be announced.
Schedule of Events:
The Ghost of Sister Ping Exhibition Opening
27 October 2017 (Fri) 7pm-9pm
@ Videotage, Cattle Depot, To Kwa Wan
(Shuttle buses will be arranged from CUHK)
Symposium on “Ghostly Temptations: Artistic and Sexual Empowerment in Academia”
30 October 2017 (Mon) @ The Chinese University of Hong Kong
– 3pm-5pm @ G24 Fung King Hey Building, CUHK:
Roundtable Discussion on “Rebirth of The Artistic Academy”: an open dialogue between local artists and artist-scholars
-7pm-9pm @ Swire Hall LT1, Fung King Hey Building, CUHK:
Keynote Lecture by Prof. Judith Zeitlin
Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, CUHK
M.A. in Visual Culture Studies, CUHK
Hong Kong Arts Development Council
Centre for Cultural Studies
Registration for exhibition opening and symposium activities is required.
《魅影蹤跡》展覽時期: 27.10.2017 – 17.11.2017
– 下午3時至5時 @ 香港中文大學馮景禧樓人文雅集G24
– 晚上7時至9時 @ 香港中文大學太古堂LT1