No love lost as advert barred from magazines

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 September, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 September, 1997, 12:00am

Leading modern dance producer Edward Lam Yick-wah has denied he is trying to provoke controversy after another one of his advertisements ran into publication problems.

The advertisement for Hong Kong is Not a Place for Love has been refused by East Touch and Eastweek magazines even though it has already been accepted by other publications.

The image of two naked men shown from the waist up is based on Gabrielle d'Estrees et une de ses Soeurs, a painting reproduced in minute size at the bottom of the advertisement.

The original, which shows two women naked from the waist up, is considered an important work of the Fontainebleau school at the end of the 16th century, though the painter is unknown, and is in the Louvre in Paris.

Lam, whose advertisements have previously been banned by the Urban Council, said: 'I didn't do it purposely. You can see naked men all over the place.

'I came across this image [the original painting] some time ago and thought it would be quite interesting if I could reproduce it in a different gender.' Mr Lam said the production was about 'contemporary and classical conflicts between love and art and reality' and was not about homosexuality.

The original painting was used last year in an advertisement by clothing firm YGM, which airbrushed out the nipples when it was displayed in MTR stations.

The two magazines refused to comment on their decision but a staff member told Louis Yu Kwok-lit, performing arts director of the Hong Kong Arts Centre, that the tiny image at the base had been ruled obscene by their lawyers.

The advertisement has been printed in City Magazine, and other major publications that have been sent the advertisement for publication have made no complaint. It has also been seen by sponsors Philip Morris.

A poster for a previous Edward Lam Dance Theatre production Once a Princess, Always a Princess, was ruled unsuitable for the general public by the Urban Council.

Mr Yu said: 'Perhaps people will be offended by the image but this is the whole point.

'It is to ask why we have taboos in our society and ask why we are so sensitive to this image.

'But I don't think that there are any obscene elements in the graphic.'