(Hong Kong/the Netherlands)
Born in a former colony (Hong Kong) of the British Empire, grew up witnessing the paradigm shift (from neoliberalism to totalitarianism to ecological crisis) and lives as a diaspora in western Europe (the Netherlands), “The End of the World” for Mel Chan is much more than a metaphor -- it is a painful fact that we need to embrace, a “trouble” that we need to stay with (as Haraway advocates).
Her artistic research traces the intricate relations between our dystopian situation and the legacies of colonial past and (neo)colonial present. Encompassing participatory performances, hypnotherapy, storytelling, painting and video, her practices not only guide people to live with the crisis, they are also acknowledgement of historical causation, as well as remedies for (states-induced) amnesia.
Based in the Netherlands, she has exhibited/performed in various art spaces in Den Haag (1646, Quartair, Stroom, The Grey Space in the Middle, Page Not Found), Rotterdam (V2, Roodkapje, Netherlands Fotomuseum, Goethe-Institut, Foundation B.a.d.), Amsterdam (De Balie, BigArt), Leiden (ACPA Conference), and Scotland (Hospitalfield), among others. She graduated from Master Artistic Research in The Royal Academy of Art The Hague (KABK) in 2019, and has a double major degree in Philosophy and Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong.
'My grandma was sixteen when she fled to Hong Kong, all alone.
Her father passed away when she was two. Her family blamed it on her for bringing bad luck. She was not allowed to go to school, but had to carry her brother on her back to school.
One time, she saw the ghost of her deceased father. The ghost was sorry for her situation. Another time, she fell from a tree but was not hurt at all. Only her jade bracelet was broken. She said the spirit of the jade bracelet had protected her.
She gave birth to five children. Only two survived. She burnt all photographs of grandpa, who abandoned his family and started another outside of wedlock.
Mother said grandma was a gambler who did not care for home.
I don’t know about that.
I only know her tenderness.
She whispered in my ears some formless stories while patting me to sleep. "The shrimp borrowed the eyes of the earthworm and never returned. Dog barks. Ruff-ruff. Cat meowed. Meow-meow." And so I fell asleep, until ashes piled up in the joss paper burner, and new flame rose on the kerosene stove.'
MFA (Distinction), Master of Artistic Research,
THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF ART, THE HAGUE
Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy and Comparative Literature (Double Major) THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
WHITE CHRYSANTHEMUMS AND PRINCE EDWARD|白菊與太子, SinArts Gallery, Den Haag, the Netherlands (SOLO EXHIBITION).
BIG ART, Hembrugterrein, Zaanstad, the Netherlands.
ART ON PAPER, KunstRai, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
ART THE HAGUE, the Netherlands.
OPTIMISM OVER DESPAIR, Contemporary Art Weekend, Den Haag
IN TIMES OF CONFINEMENT, Sinarts Gallery, Den Haag, the Netherlands.
TAKING CARE OF THE SMALL ONES, Sinarts Gallery, Den Haag, the Netherlands.
NASTY WOMEN, #team/Femke, De Balie, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
ACPA CONFERENCE: IS THIS THING ON? THE PUBLIC DIMENSIONS OF ARTISTIC RESEARCH: Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, Leiden University, The Netherlands.
LOCATING ArtScience #2: Children of the Space (A Forest), Today's Art Festival, The Grey Space In The Middle, Den Haag, The Netherlands
SPECTER, V2_, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
BOOK LAUNCH of If A Tree Falls in a Forest, Page Not Found, Den Haag, The Netherlands
BETTER AS A CHORUS, MA Artistic Research, KABK, Den Haag, The Netherlands
ABANDONED REALITIES, Evermore, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
I WAS MOSTLY DELIGHTED, BUT YES, ALSO A LITTLE BIT AFRAID, Quartair, Den Haag, The Netherlands
ON-GOING CONVERSATIONS #5, 1646, Den Haag, The Netherlands
THE REVERSE OB-SERVANT, Hospitalfield, Arbroath, Scotland
RISE, Quartair, The Hague, The Netherlands
RANDOM COLLECTIVE, Stroom, The Hague, The Netherlands
THE ARTIST WILL BE DRUNK, Jimz Pub/KABK MAR, The Hague, The Netherlands