Monochrome video still of a man and woman sitting opposite each other at a small table. They are holding hands. A third person holds a clapperboard in front of them and holds it open, ready to clap it shut.

‘Everything Goes Wrong for the Poor Couple’: An Artistic Partnership

Readers voted to feature this work in the series From the Collections.

Everything Goes Wrong for the Poor Couple (2010) by Kwan Sheung Chi and Wong Wai Yin is a video artwork narrating the tragic events in the life of a husband and wife, played by the artists.

The work is inspired by old-style Cantonese melodramas and movies from the 1950s and 1960s, particularly the 1952 film Everything Goes Wrong for the Poor Couple, directed by Ng Wui. The title of the film was extracted from a classic Chinese poem An Elegy II, written by prominent Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Yuan Zhen. In this mournful verse, the poet expressed deep sorrow and yearning after the death of his beloved wife, who previously shared a hard life with him. The last line of the poem reads: ‘This is a sorrow that all mankind must know / But not as those know it who have been poor together.’ After thousands of years, the last line of this poem has become a proverb with a widely accepted interpretation: couples in poverty are doomed to live a miserable life—‘everything goes wrong for the poor couple’.

Two people stand in front of a large flat artwork consisting of thousands of used teabags sewn together. The person on the left is brandishing a small paintbrush, hovering it over the work.

How Do You Conserve an Artwork Made Out of Teabags?

Leung Mee Ping created her work Elsewhere V (2014) by stitching 10,000 Chinese teabags onto stretched fabric by hand. It is part of the Elsewhere series, which she began in 1991 after a close friend passed away. Forlorn and drinking tea everyday, she started sewing her drying teabags into an artwork. The repetitive action of sewing the teabags represented a meditative contemplation on life and death. The work entered the M+ Collections in 2016.

The completed conservation and stabilisation of the work was an unusual process, because it couldn’t be neatly placed in a single category. Should the paintings conservator conserve it, because it is on a flat surface? Should it be the objects conservator, because the work has a sculptural, three-dimensional quality? Should it be the paper conservator, because the teabags are made out of paper? In the end, all three specialists decided to collaborate on the work: another example of how the diverse M+ Collections bring these overlapping areas of expertise together.

Below, the three conservators explain how they and their team dealt with this unique work.

Interviewees:

  • Natalie Harding, Conservator, Objects
  • Jofan Huang, Conservator, Paper
  • Karina Jagudina, Conservator, Paintings
Video game still depicting an animated Hong Kong street scene. A casually dressed man in the foreground is leaning towards the camera with his mouth open as if shouting something. Behind him, a man in office clothes jumps high in the air while sitting on a rolling office chair.

The Many Video Game Versions of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is disproportionately represented in the world of video games. In fact, the blog Hong Kong in Video Games lists more than 180 examples of games set in the city.

The blog's creator is video game fan and software engineer Eddie Lau, who grew up in Hong Kong and currently works in the United States. Here, he chats with Hugh Davies, a media researcher and artist based in Melbourne, Australia. Davies's recent research with M+ and the Hong Kong Design Trust examines how Hong Kong appears in video games.

Below, the pair discuss their respective research into their shared passion for Hong Kong’s depiction in video games, revealing the rich visual character these playful experiences contain.

A door in a wall next to a large sign. The sign contains the exhibition title ‘Shirley Tse: Stakeholders, Hong Kong in Venice’ and the dates ‘11 May–24 Nov 2019’ in both English and traditional Chinese.

Hong Kong Venice Biennale Interns on Their Most Memorable Moments

What’s it like to greet thousands of international visitors to the Hong Kong exhibition at the Venice Biennale?

The Hong Kong exhibition at the 58th Venice Biennale, Shirley Tse: Stakeholders, Hong Kong in Venice, co-presented by M+ and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, drew thousands of visitors before wrapping up in November 2019. Who spoke to those visitors? Eight interns who each spent six weeks in Venice giving tours and greeting visitors in the gallery.

After the exhibition ended, we asked each intern: What was the most memorable interaction you had at the gallery? What question were you asked the most? Here are their answers.