Creative forces: Hong Kong's emerging talent

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 May, 2013, 2:43pm

A century ago, a 26-year-old Marcel Duchamp challenged the traditional concept of art by turning "found objects" - ordinary items that don't normally attract anyone's attention - into art. His so-called "readymades" included a bicycle wheel, a snow shovel and, most notoriously, a urinal titled Fountain.

Today, Lam Hoi-sin, also at the age of 26, is keeping the readymade tradition alive by giving "found images" artistic values through re-blogging and sharing them online.

While Duchamp presented fewer than 20 readymades in his lifetime, Lam has already circulated hundreds and thousands of existing images as readymades on more than 50 blogs.

"I try not to define whether I'm creating," she says. "Very often it's mere sharing. Though I share as if I'm curating."

Lam regards each blog as a curated exhibition that serves as "context" to organise her way of thinking.

"The internet is not just a platform for me to let people know what I've done," the Polytechnic University design graduate says of her creative use of e-platforms, such as Tumblr, Facebook and Etsy.

In a "curated" blog titled Affordable Conceptual Art, Lam explains that she "sells" her readymades and collages to poke fun at how much a concept is worth.

"I find Duchamp inspiring. But at the same time I'm teasing the much-hyped contemporary art world," the artist says. "But then I'm also part of that world. So who am I teasing? It's paradoxical."

Her other sarcastic project, I Need Patriarchy, invites the public to submit photos of themselves with a slogan that begins with "I need patriarchy because ... " as a humorous version of the "I need feminism" campaigns worldwide.

For Lam, gender inequality is a hidden issue, whether it appears in a family or in society at large.

"The world is still often seen through a male perspective," the artist says, giving an example that we are often taught "not to get raped" rather than "not to rape".

It's wrong to label feminists as man-hating, bigoted female chauvinists, Lam says. She believes feminism defends two basic values: humanity and rationality.

"It's all about how to treat people based on reason, not on preconceptions."

To submit your "I need patriarchy" photos, go to Or follow which links to the artist's blogs that showcase her drawings, satirical collages, amusing sketches of pop icons and totes bags she's made with her mother.

Janice Leung