ELAINE M.L. TAM



is an itinerant writer, editor and curator from Hong Kong currently living and working in London. She collaborates with contemporary artists and thinkers to create new forms and forums for critical engagement. Her research interests include psychoanalysis, media theory, performative writing and feminist new materialisms.

Curatorial @ White Cube
Editorial @ Fieldnotes 

︎


FORTHCOMING 
Urbanomic K-Pulp Switch





MORE INFO
︎ About me
︎ Writing
︎ Contact
︎ Instagram

*
EDITED PUBLICATIONS

Honey Luard and Elaine Tam (eds.), Companion III, London: White Cube, September 2023. An anthology featuring art and writing by Georg Baselitz, Alex Bennett, Philomena Epps, TJ Demos, Cerith Wyn Evans, Theaster Gates, Antony Gormley, Martha Graham, Tom Hastings, Mona Hatoum, Toby Kamps, Imi Knoebel, Robert Macfarlane, Ibrahim Mahama, Courtney J Martin, Julie Mehretu, Rod Mengham, Beatriz Milhazes, Sarah Morris, Isamu Noguchi, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Robert Ryman, Doris Salcedo, Delfim Sardo, Andrea Schlieker, Raqib Shaw, Philippa Snow, Luc Tuymans, Courtney Willis Blair, Léon Wuidar.

Honey Luard and Elaine Tam (eds.), Anselm Kiefer and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Superstrings. A Symposium, London: White Cube, June 2023. A reader at the intersection of art and science featuring Monica Bello, Fay Dowker, Marcus du Sautoy, Anselm Kiefer, Alexander Kluge, Priya Natarajan, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ben Okri, Suchitra Sebastian, Janne Siren and Edward Witten. [ISBN 978-1-910844-62-5] Available here

Stefan Dotter and Elaine Tam (eds.), Issue #11 Identity, Berlin: Whitelies, 2022. Issue number 11 of the annual arts and culture magazine dedicated to the intersection of East and West, featuring artists, figures and writers such as Terry Riley, Amanda Lee Koe, Chan Wai Kwong, Sandy Yu, Kiko Mizuhara, Zhong Lin, Sakiko Nomura, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Anaïs Ca Dao van Manen and Zoe Suen, among others. [ISSN 2363-8745] Available here

Honey Luard and Elaine Tam (eds.), Companion II, London: White Cube, 2022. An anthology featuring art and writing by Etel Adnan, Cecilia Alemani, Michael Armitage, Chiara Bertola, Sophie Calle, Briony Fer, Gilbert & George, Louise Giovanelli, Juliana Halpert, David Hammons, Estelle Hoy, Jenny Jaskey, Klara Kemp-Welch, Amy Key, Chris Kraus, Danica Lundy, Christian Marclay, Jonas Marguet, Nakhane, Isamu Noguchi, Ben Okri, Gabriel Orozco, Virginia Overton, Jessica Rankin, Ilana Savdie, Park Seo-Bo, Brenda Shaughnessy, Jennifer Sliwka, Haim Steinbach, Alina Szapocznikow, Danh Vo and Jeff Wall. [ISBN 978-1-910844-58-8] Available here

Elaine Tam (ed.), A.R. Penck: Paintings 1974-1990, London: White Cube, 2022. A monograph on the late German artist A.R. Penck published to coincide with an exhibition of the same name. Featuring an in-depth essay on the artist’s unique concept of ‘Standart’ by Hannah Klemm (Associate Curator, St. Louis Art Museum) and a conversation between the artist and Andrea Schlieker (Director of Exhibitions, Tate Modern) from 1983, the publication spotlights 18 of Penck’s paintings. [ISBN 978-1-910844-56-4] Available here

Silvia Bombardini, James Hendrix Elsey, Alasdair Milne, Siegrun Salmanian, Elaine Tam (eds.), Subtexts, with a foreword by Robin Mackay, London, 2022. Delving towards telluric intensities, Subtexts is a collection of geopoetic, sublithic writing – an earthward analytical offshoot exploring Nature’s underbelly and its chaotic psychic propensities.

Honey Luard and Elaine Tam (eds.), Companion, London: White Cube, 2021. An anthology featuring art and writing by Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Erika Balsom, Shahidha Bari, Leon Chew, Chuck Close, Julie Curtiss, Tracey Emin, Masato Fukushima, Dakin Hart, Al Held, Margot Heller, Bronwyn Katz, Rachel Kneebone, Ibrahim Mahama, Tim Marlow, Susan May, Harland Miller, Isamu Noguchi, Minoru Nomata, Yates Norton, Francis Picabia, Ingrid Sischy, Robert Storr, Takis, Kaari Upson, Roy Vickery, Danh Vo, Marina Warner, Zoe Whitley and Sarah Wilson. [ISBN 978-1-910844-49-6] Available here

*
SELECTED WRITING

Please leave a message after the tone’, Reader III, Alexandr Jančík, Nela Klajbanová and Martin Mazanec (eds.), Olomouc: PAF, forthcoming 2023. A meditation on Rebecca Salvadori’s filmic work-in-progress Messengers, one which explores the etymology and poetics of the word ‘Messengers’ in relation to hybrid art practices involving performance and improvisation. 

Figure 2.41’, Mandy El-Sayegh: The Makeshift Body, London: Black Dog Press, September 2023. This in-depth essay explores the entwined corporeal and language-based dimensions of Mandy El-Sayegh’s artistic practice, through the psychoanalytic theory of Julia Kristeva, Lacanian metaphor, Franz Kafka’s short story In the Penal Colony, and descriptive prose spotlighting specific pieces of ephemera located in the artist’s studio. Available here [ISBN 978-1-912165-54-4]

Morag Keil: Limp Gestures’, Various Artists, online: various-artists.com, published 25 July 2023. A focus piece on contemporary opulence as mediated extension and surface area through a close reading of Dizzy (2019) and Passive Aggressive 2 (2017), two film works by multidisciplinary artist Morag Keil. Available here

Never let a fool kiss you’, Sybil’s Mouths, Rose Aiello, Ellen Yeon Kim, Erika Landstrom, Luzie Meyer and Mark von Schlegell (eds.), Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2023. This metatextual work of fiction extends Frank O’Hara’s lyrical poem For Grace, After a Party (1954), exploiting literary forms and devices such as the footnote, the screenplay and the first-person narrative. Available here [ISBN 978-3-956796-44-9]

Filth’, with Arthur Gouillart, in Becoming Geological, Martin Howse (ed.), Rotterdam: V2_Publishing, 2022. A philosophical meditation on the metaphysics of decay and regeneration, this text draws upon the thought of German pessimists Arthur Schopenhauer and Philipp Mainländer, and is structured according to the six stages of decomposition. Available here [ISBN 978-90-828935-6-4]

Mistranslate’, Whitelies Magazine, Issue #11: Identity (Fall 2022). At once a dedication and the relic of inter-generational haunting, this personal essay reflects on the themes of mourning, cultural dysphoria and language loss written in the wake of a grandmother’s passing. Available here 

Designing the Wild’, with Arthur Gouillart, in Raddar, Issue #4: Fake (Fall 2022). This research paper traces the historical constructions of an authentically ‘wild’ natural environment pervading ecological thought, to reveal the artificiality of its signification as origin, purity and inherently good. Available here

The Idle Cloth’, Jonathan Michael Ray, Ubi Umbra Cadit, Cornwall: Antler Press, 2022. An essay appearing in Ray’s artist book, published to coincide with his two-person exhibition with Wilhelmina Barns-Graham at Tate St. Ives. The text highlights the various series comprising Ray’s work, and threads excerpts from Samuel Beckett’s Ill Seen Ill Said, ideas from Hal Foster’s Brutal Aesthetics and original fictive prose. Available here

Tell-tale heart’, Open Space Contemporary, March 2022. Three short stories commissioned by Open Space responding to the theme of ‘Recovery Through Kinship’. Tell-tale heart is a Poe-inspired piece that twins ideas of ‘bloodthirsty’ and ‘blood ties’; Magic wafers interrogates the relationship between transubstantiation, communion and community; in Young love, a man longing for his deceased mother discovers an elixir of youth. Available here

Conduit’, with Arthur Gouillart, in Subtexts, Silvia Bombardini, James Hendrix Elsey, Alasdair Milne, Siegrun Salmanian, Elaine Tam (eds.), London, 2022. A work of theory-fiction set on a fracking site which takes the form of a series of journal entries. The text was inspired by cyberneticist Gregory Bateson’s ideas on evolution and the unfortunate life story of a fradulent Austrian biologist named Paul Kammerer. Available here

Spigot of Love’, Doris Press, November 2022. A short essay about aberrant breasts in art, this text traverses references as diverse as Philip Roth’s novella The Breast (1972), the ‘jatte-téton’ milk bowl allegedly modelled upon Marie Antoinette’s breast, Lee Miller’s striking images of a radical masectomy, as well as Alina Szapocznikow’s uncanny sculpture Dessert III (1971). Available here

Spills’, with Geiste Kincinaityte, in Deleuzine, Volume #1: Sprouting in all directions, Lilly Marks and Sabeen Chaudhry (ed.), London, 2021. Transcribed from a performance lecture given at the ‘Tactics & Praxis: Creativity, Pleasure and Ethics in Academic Work’, a symposium hosted by CRASSH, University of Cambridge. This text is a work of glossolalia which pastiches together ideas of affect, poetics and worlding. Available here 

*
EXHIBITION TEXTS

Window shopper’. Text written to accompany the two-person exhibition of Suwon Lee and Małgorzata Widomska. Emphasising the tension and idle associated with the figure of the window shopper, the text explores the seamlessness of vision and the forbiddance of touch. Kravitz Contemporary, London (7 July–19 August 2023). Available here 

‘Le Bréviaire’. Text written to accompany Anna Solal’s solo exhibition of the same title, which weaves a constellation of the artist’s wide-ranging references, from data visualisation to the criminal-as-flower of Jean Genet. Mamoth gallery, London (2 June–22 July 2023). Available here

‘The collector’. Text taking the form of a short story about the encounter between an art historian and a mad collector, written to accompany a display of Kle Mens’ paintings depicting a mythical pair Harpy and Sphinx. Kravitz Contenporary, London (2–9 June 2023). Available here

‘phantom currents’. Text written to accompany Lidija Kononenko’s major new installation comprising a cascade of text displayed on grids of decommissioned computer screens powered by solar energy. Somers Gallery, London (15 May–3 June 2023). Available here

‘Laura Berger’. Text written to accompany the artist’s presentation of six new paintings set within the desert, considering the geological process of denudation in relation to Berger’s treatment of figuration. Mama Projects, Future Fair, New York City (10–13 May 2023) Available here

‘Softbox’. Text written to accompany Stefan Burger’s solo exhibition of found object ‘actors’ that star in image-objects hailing from the mysterious non-human world of things. Kirchgasse, Steckborn, Switzerland (15 April–27 May 2023). Available here

Melted with U’. Text written to accompany Marria Pratts’ solo presentation with La Bibi Gallery, New York (9–21 December 2022), which explores recurring motifs of the clock and the ghost through a study of the artist’s 2017 painting on a chocolate calendar. Available here

There is nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns.’ Text written to accompany Paula Turmina’s solo presentation of the same name, inspired by Octavia E. Butler’s life and Earthseed. Mama Projects, Bienvenue, Paris (20–23 October 2022). Available here

Tenderloin cuts’. Text written to accompany Under the Jaguar Sun, an exhibition curated by Kamil #2 featuring Louis Appleby, Victor Galka, Mattia Guarnera MacCarthy, Yage Guo, Julia Kowalska. 17 Soho Square, Kravitz Contemporary, London (14–28 October 2022). 

Wish Lush’. Text written to accompany a group exhibition of the same name curated by Arthur Gouillart and Elaine Tam. Featuring João Alves, Louis Appleby, Suzy Babington, Ryan Brown, Sofie Burgaard, Luke Burton, Zoë Carlon, May Hands, Angus McCrum, Peter Larsen, Ranald Macdonald, Conor Murgatroyd, Alfie Rouy and Paula Turmina. 230 Portobello Road, Kravitz Contemporary, London (2–8 June 2022). Available here

Emotional Frequencies’. Text written to accompany Francesca Blomfield and Maki Katayama’s two-person exhibition, which refers to the cryptographic qualities present in both of the artists’ works. 3 Chome-9-6 Higashiueno, imlabor, Tokyo (12 December 2021–23 January 2022). Available here

Very Cold’. Epistolary text written to accompany Henrik Potter’s solo exhibition Very Cold exploring the intimate working processes of the artist’s practice. 43 Wooler Street, SUNDY, London, (7 October—27 November 2021). Available here

*
POETRY

‘Milky Blind Eye’, Julia Kowalska, Kravitz Contemporary, London, 2023. Written to complement Polish painter Julia Kowalska’s exhibition of dreamscapes, the ‘slashed’ poem connects as it divides ambivalent notions of body/mind, comfort/threat, dream/reality. Available here

Materia’, Whitelies Magazine, Issue #10: Patience (Fall 2021). Commissioned to accompany photographer Nicole Maria Winkler’s visual essay ‘Materia’, this work of prose-poetry considers the issue theme in relation to the creativity of gestation and the infinite patience required of motherhood. Available here 

Intervals’, Thing 019: Aggregate, FORM IV, Isabel Mallet (ed.), online, 2021. An interrupted line of thought interrupted by rogue em dashes that finishes with the first line of John Keats’ Endymion, ‘Intervals’ is a ‘pace’ poem that directs (in as much as it instructs) a romantic attenuation to the clandestine everyday affairs of urban life. Available here

Notes 26 and 28’, FUGUES, Nicole Maria Winkler (ed.), Berlin, 2021. A study of objects by photographer Nicole Maria Winkler, accompanied by selected pieces of writing. ‘Notes’ is part of an ongoing series of short-form prose-poems derived from the ‘found’ material in Elaine’s Notes application. [ISBN 979-1-069962-91-0] Available here

Snake (in Chanel 66 Pulse)’, Horizon Magazine, Issue #2, London, 2021. A becoming-animal, neo-noir prose-poem inspired by a Chanel lipstick shade, the 18th-century Baroque composer Scarlatti, Youtube video clips of snake poaching and, notably, Deleuze & Guattari’s notion of becoming. Available here

12 False Starts’, with Angus McCrum, Kingsgate Project Space, London, 2020. A poem taking the form of a list that was written as part of an editioned artwork by McCrum, and distributed by post. Available here