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Retainers of Anarchy



Howie Tsui

Hong Kong

1978 –

No image
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Media category
    Materials used
    handscroll and catalogue box set; coloured ink on paper
    AP 3
    205.0 cm long
    Gift of the artist and ART LABOR Gallery 2019
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Howie Tsui
    Artist information
    Howie Tsui

    Works in the collection


  • About

    This work is a two-metre long printed version of Tsui’s original ‘scroll’ video installation of Retainers of Anarchy. The video work consists of hundreds of drawings which Tsui produced over three years. In this work the events associated with the protagonists of the video play out across the length of a traditional-seeming handscroll.

    Tsui’s works feature a gleefully impure mix of cultural sources. His original drawings are produced in a style strongly influenced by horror manga with marked exaggeration of features. The print pictorially references major works of Chinese art, including the Song dynasty (960-1279) handscroll, Along the River during the Qingming Festival by Zhang Zeduan (1085–1145); The Water Margin bandit stories set during the Song dynasty [Jp: Suikoden]; and the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) painting One Hundred Horses, 1728, by Giuseppe Castiglione (Lang Shining, 1688 –1766). Modern life emerges in the imagery of a 20th century Hong Kong under British rule as represented by the Kowloon Walled City demolished in 1994. Both Song period China and the Walled City embody ideas of self-determined rules of conduct and resistance to authority. Tsui’s extraordinary video and this printed accompaniment to it explore the lives and fortunes of people residing ‘anarchically’ on the fringes – and simultaneously at the heart of – conventional society.

Other works by Howie Tsui