Ho Yan Pun Nicole - In & Out
Ho Yan Pun Nicole is a Hong Kong artist using photography, video and performance to explore queer identity and desire. Her work involves collaborations with strangers. She is a curious person so she reveals hers or others’ darkest secrets through her lens.
She received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2014. Her work has been exhibited in Circus Gallery in Los Angeles; Avenue 50 Studio in Los Angeles; SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco; McGroarty Arts Center in Tujunga and JCCAC in Hong Kong.
The words “In” and “Out” are always put in binary opposition. Are you in or are you out? In or out? Are you coming into my body or out of my body? Yet between “In” and “Out”, there is a third space in the middle, shared by the two poles. Partially visible and partially exposed, this “In & Out” place offers me the possibilities to explore sexuality.
Through the “In & Out” project, I want to give a voice to lesbians and let them explore their fantasies with their gestures. For the past few months, I interviewed over forty self-identified lesbians about their sexuality, ranging from 20 to 60 years old. Given minimal instructions, they imagined their partners’ bodies and restaged how they have sex with the other females using their hands.
This act of exposure is personal and political. On the one hand, each photograph is a unique portrait that reveals each lesbian’s sexual desire. On the other hand, the phallus-like gestures act as a space that subverts the patriarchal hierarchy.
Under the rule of the British administration, Hong Kong once had an ordinance prohibiting male-to-male anal sex, which involves the insertion of the penis. Penis insertion is such a strong factor to determine if one engaged in sexual intercourse. Nowadays, male homosexual activity has been decriminalized in Hong Kong and in China, yet lesbian visibility still comes into question.
I began to trace to the history and questioned the so-called definition of sex when defined as penis insertion. My investigation centered around this question: So how do two females have sex? The In & Out project unfolds this question.
Through abstracting their performance of sexual activity from an intimate private space to a public space, the question of lesbian sexuality and visibility is brought to light. With the act of exposing this intimate gesture through photography, the performers become a community whose participation in this project helps to recontextualize lesbian sex.