ELAINE M.L. TAM



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

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FORTHCOMING 
Urbanomic K-Pulp Switch





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EDITED BOOKS

Honey Luard and Elaine Tam (eds.), Companion 2, 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 highlights 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 1, 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

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SELECTED ESSAYS

Figure 2.41’, Mandy El-Sayegh, London: Black Dog Press, forthcoming in 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 ephemera located in the artist’s studio. 

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, forthcoming in 2022. This metatextual work of fiction extends Frank O’Hara’s lyrical poem For Grace, After a Party, exploiting literary forms and devices such as the footnote, the screenplay and the first-person narrative. [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]

Sweet Buns’, 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 Magazine, 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.

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 

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POETRY

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

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CONTEMPORARY ART TEXTS

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. 

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)

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’. 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