Ten Million Rooms of Yearning. Sex in Hong Kong

Supported Projects
Hong Kong

Irene Chou - Untitled

Exhibition Opening: 10 May 2014
4:00pm, Artist Talks by Petula Sik-ying Ho, Dr Isaac Leung, Tan-Hoang Nguyen, Hito Steyerl
7:00pm, Opening Ceremony
Exhibition Period: 10 May – 6 July 2014
Venue: Connecting Space Hong Kong (Directions)

Curated by: Cosmin Costinas and Chantal Wong

Artists: Cao Fei, Ines Doujak, Richard Fung, Hou Chun-Ming, William E. Jones, Yayoi Kusama, Nguyen Tan Hoang, Hélio Oiticica, Willem de Rooij, Roee Rosen, Hito Steyerl, Danh Vo and William Yang; historic Hong Kong figures such as Luis Chan, Eileen Chang, Irene Chou, Chu Hing Wah, Hon Chi-fun, Ma Jir-Bo, Antonio Mak, and Ricky Yeung Sau-churk; contemporary local and regional artists Au Shek-yan, Chien-Chi Chang, Choy Ka Fai + Rianto, Eisa Jocson, Meiro Koizumi, Agung Kurniawan, Lee Kit, Lam Hoi-sin, Isaac Leung, Nguan, Erkka Nissinen, Angela Su, Wong Wai-yim, Trevor Yeung, and Zhou Tao; and Hong Kong academics and artists Petula Ho Sik-ying, Katrien Jacobs, and Yau Ching are also featured.

Presented by Para Site
Supported by Connecting Space Hong Kong

Presented by Para Site,  Ten Million Rooms of Yearning. Sex in Hong Kong is a multi-venue and multi-chapter group exhibition looks at the connections between desire and Hong Kong’s society and historical conditions. It explores the many ways in which desire and sexuality are manifested, hidden, altered, and replaced by various factors, from family structure and class, to architecture’s role in shaping intimacy and to capitalism’s over-determination of the public space. While the exhibition departs from Hong Kong, it creates propositions meant to understand a more universal contemporary condition. It includes seminal works from international artists and historical figures from Hong Kong, alongside emerging artists from the city and the region.

Connecting Space Hong Kong (by courtesy of Zurich University of the Arts) hosts one of the two main clusters of works. It is a central component of the exhibition but it is conceived to also be accessible to the public as an autonomous entity, given the relative physical distance from Para Site. The exhibition at Connecting Space focuses on a discussion of intimacy and socialization in the contexts of private space, family relations and commercialization of the public spaces in the city; architecture, regulation, urban planning and negotiation of power; it also looks more closely at issues of gender within the framework of the exhibition.

Recent studies have shown that Hong Kong has one of the lowest sex drives in the world. There are several reasons for this. As one of the only Chinese societies not to undergo a modern revolution, the city never experienced the sexual liberation movement found elsewhere. Moreover, Hong Kong maintains some of the Victorian values of morality and respectability rooted in its colonial past. Its unique history has also brought a disproportionate focus on Christian ideals to public policy and power circles.

Costinas said, “The post-handover years have shown a trend toward increased conservatism and a greater reluctance to explore sexuality in the media and art. One of the aims of the exhibition is to understand better the drivers of this trend and ignite a discussion about sexuality in Hong Kong.”

The exhibition also explores the unique socio-economic conditions in Hong Kong that may suppress sexuality. Small living quarters, high population density and a tendency to live with parents inhibit intimacy and privacy. This is juxtaposed to the city’s public space, which is oversaturated with messages designed to arouse and with promises of desire. In the family environment, sexuality is not a priority post youth and is usurped by other activities such as playing video games designed to substitute for real-life sociability and human interaction.