Gallery Exit Tomorrow-May 9 In their latest exhibition of collages opening at Gallery Exit tomorrow, local fashion photographer Harry Chan Hoi-yoen (better known as Harry C) and Japanese painter Aya Shindo explored the intimate beauty of fetishes. The two artists spent 18 months working on their dark take on the Hans Christian Andersen classic fairy tale The Red Shoes. In 30-plus photo/illustration collages (including A girl [backstage version], above) - half of which will go on display at Harvey Nichols - the duo chronicle the life of a fictitious pole dancer whose shoe fetish means she would only stop dancing if her feet were cut off. 'In Hong Kong, fetishism is often being described as erotic or perverted. I think having a fetish is as normal as having other passions and desires,' says Chan. The artists cut the hand-print photographs using a pair of scissors made of the same metal found in Japanese swords. After placing the cut-outs on the white canvas, Shindo applied her bright and delicate watercolour paintings around them to complete the collage. 'Although it tells a dark story, the visuals you see in the exhibition are so beautiful and warm that it is almost like a fantasy. We want to create this welcoming and romantic aura that can also show a different side of fetish culture,' says Chan, who has been a fashion photographer for more than a decade. Chan knew little about fetishism before relocating to Tokyo in 2000. He was amazed to find that people were open-minded about this subculture in Japan. Thus, he decided to hold this exhibition in Hong Kong in the hopes of overcoming prejudice and clearing up misconceptions about fetishism. 'Forget about the taboos, forget about what other people might think; you should never be afraid to express yourself,' says Chan. Aside from its exploration of fetishism, Red Shoes - Dark Beauty is also about being unique and not following popular trends, he says. 'Many Hong Kong and mainland artists don't have a consistent style because they change to suit market demand. That's a very sad thing. I think when you believe in something, you should go all out and just do it; most importantly, always stick with it to the very end,' says Chan. Shindo - who grew up in suburban Vienna and is famous for her distinctive use of colours - has already created works that touched on the theme of Japanese rope bondage and fetish fashion. The artist wants to highlight the ideas of love and the desire for liberation and happiness. Despite being long-term collaborators (they have worked together for six years), Chan says there is still a sense of freshness and excitement about this crossover project. 'I'm not doing this for any of my clients; I'm doing this for myself. It feels great I can communicate my feelings and thoughts directly to a general audience,' says Chan. Shindo and Chan are now working on their next collage exhibition to be themed 'Sadomasochism (SM)', which is expected to go on show next year. They will host a discussion at the gallery tomorrow between 7pm and 9pm. G/F, 1 Shin Hing Street, Central, Mon-Sat, 11am-7pm, inquiries: 2541 1299.