Elizabeth Briel, Travel Artist

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Cruel Luxuries at Blue Lotus Gallery

December 12th, 2017

Cruel Luxuries performance @ Cheung Chau Wave

Photo by Jin Heng

This Saturday 16th December you're welcome to come by Blue Lotus Gallery at 4pm for an encounter with Cruel Luxuries.

Each time is an experiment, with more layers of sound and material.

More info here

Hope to see you there.

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Cruel Luxuries Hong Kong [beta]

December 2nd, 2017


Photo by Marcel Hejinen

On 1st and 2nd December, the Cheung Chau Wave festival hosted the first stage of my project Cruel Luxuries.

It's an exploration of the cruelty behind many of humanity's highest or luxurious art forms, from large (the Pyramids) to small (cochineal to produce organic red dye). For this project, I've chosen to incorporate several aspects:

* Silk created by worms that, typically, die in silk production

* Silhouettes of sharks fins which are often cruelly harvested – Hong Kong is where half the world's fins are traded

* The exquisite, eerie tones produced by castrati singers (a practice once implicitly encouraged by the Catholic Church in Italy where women were not allowed to sing in churches), singers who had operas written especially for them by some of Western classical music's famous composers like Handel, and who impacted western opera in ways that continue today

A reflection on the duality of beauty and its opposite, which are often simultaneously present in art and culture worldwide. Eventually Cruel Luxuries will consist of approx 100sqm silk printed with the sharks fin design, exhibited in the US and elsewhere, but at this stage the project is still at its essence. I was very happy to share it with Hong Kong and the Cheung Chau community in its earliest form.

The installation / performance included a total of 15 meters of Suzhou silk printed with sharks fins from my Typhoon Cyanotype series


Photo by Michael Wolf

The effect had something in common with this painting by Surrealist artist Remedios Varo (Encuentro, 1959)


And performed a dialogue with music by the only castrato singer ever recorded, Alessandro Moreschi 

There were two performances:

* Fri 1st December, Cheung Chau Wave's opening night in collaboration with the exhibition of architect / photographer Tugo Chen

* Saturday, Kam Yun beach, a short walk from the pier on Cheung Chau.

Selected photos:


Photo by Sarah Greene








Elizabeth Briel performing

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Video by Sarah Greene for Cheung Chau Wave


Photo by Jin Heng for Cheung Chau Wave


Photo by Jin Heng for Cheung Chau Wave


Photo by Michael Wolf


Photo by Jin Heng for Cheung Chau Wave


Photo by Sarah Greene


Photo by Pete Spurrier

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Lost and Found: Beijing

October 13th, 2017

Out now: a photo book I edited for ThingsAsian Press. Lost and Found: Beijing is a portrait of a city by five photographers. Each brings a different perspective to the Chinese capital.

Liu Laoshi is an artist who has been documenting Beijing's prolific graffiti scene for over a decade

Yifei Fang is a photographer who focuses on youth culture

Stefen Chow is a Singaporean photographer who works worldwide, notably co-founding The Poverty Line project

Marc Smith is a NYC-based British artist who finds inspiration for his work in the streets wherever he lives

Designer: Janet McKelpin

I contributed photos of Beijing's smog transforming the cityscape, and shadows of history that remain today












Available via Amazon

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Athens21: Re-frieze-ing

September 1st, 2017

The Athens21: Re-frieze-ing project is a seventy-five meter portrait of the city created with silhouettes of Athens residents from all walks of life, who are bringing their city into the 21st century.

Most prints were made with Melissa Network, several at Coco-Mat (Kifissia), and the Victoria Square Project.

The artwork's length is a reference to the frieze taken from the Parthenon at the heart of Athens, which the British Museum will not return to Greece. Exhibited at Victoria Square Project, Athens, August 2017

Cyanotype photograms on cotton, approximately 75m x 1m, 2017

Some photos from the project's making and exhibition:

Fabric ready to print



Dilara rises



Thaleia rises from the Cyanotype


Sofia and her daughter

Angel and Qadeer trace the frieze



Drawings for the cliche-verres



Manasif removing acetate from frieze Cyanotype after printing in the sun



Lifting Cyanotype frieze, detail



Frieze drying



Holding artwork sewn by Click Ngwere at Victoria Square Project, ready for exhibition



Qadeer hangs Click's piece



Qadeer hangs the exhibition



Cyans through window



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Tree of Exceptions, Reimagined

June 1st, 2017

Tree of Exceptions has been reconfigured and installed in a new space: the Blue Gallery of the Yew Chung Foundation's Secondary Campus in Kowloon Tong (Hong Kong). It will be exhibited until late August 2017. You are welcome to visit by contacting me.



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Alternative Photography Installation (2017)

May 20th, 2017

"Tree of Exceptions" installation at Pimary art residency, New Territories, Hong Kong

Painted dimensions: 1m x 16m, Cyanotype and Vandyke photo chemicals painted on handmade paper, installation variable

18486135_10212662077487909_7705677176760920351_n (1)

Painted and ready to install


Ground floor installation blends with Pimary's existing elements (photo by Pete Spurrier)


and leads up a stairway to the rooftop (photo by Pete Spurrier)


Giving background on the project during the artists talk (photo by Pete Spurrier)

Intro to the project and its contributors (from Hong Kong's New Territories villages) here.

Photos of the installation as a work-in-progress here.

The project reviewed in the South China Morning Post.

More photos here.

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Tree of Exceptions in the South China Morning Post

May 11th, 2017

"Tree of Exceptions" review here





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Growing “Tree of Exceptions”

May 3rd, 2017

Photos as the installation Tree of Exceptions grows in a village house in Hong Kong's New Territories

Cyanotype "bricks" test negatives imprinted with villagers' memories

cyanotype bricks

Negatives installed on windows

2017-05-09 12.07.21

Paintings in progress: before developing in sunlight (L) and after (R)

2017-05-14 17.22.42

Printing on the rooftop of the village house, Pimary

2017-05-01 17.40.02

Histories of Hong Kong printed in branches and leaves. Vandyke and Cyanotype painting on paper, installation detail. Where two incompatible chemicals meet, an irregular, unpredictable border forms.

2017-05-15 13.06.17

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Tree of Exceptions

March 28th, 2017

Thanks to the invitation of Pimary art residency in Hong Kong's New Territories, I have the chance to explore the rural side of our city, and its unique histories. My new project, "Tree of Exceptions", will be a large-scale painting installation two storeys high of tree roots, trunks and limbs.

Vandyke and Cyanotype photosensitive inks will be imprinted with the memories of people from Hong Kong villages near the Chinese border.

An exploration of place, rootedness, and returning home.

2017-03-05 17.33.20

Mr. Leung examines a fan listing Chinese dynasties to pinpoint the date of his family's arrival in the village (around 1644, beginning of the Qing dynasty). The Hakka were banished to the mountains and the seas of China by northern Qing emperors. "We didn't choose this place for any particular reason to create a village, we just migrated until there was food, and then we stopped." — in Lo Tsz Tin, Hong Kong.

2017-03-05 17.54.57

Mrs. Shum moved here from Guangdong 20 years ago to join her husband, whose family comes from the village. "People used to gather here, outside in the lanes chatting. We would eat together in the open area near the village hall. Our doors were always open wide, never locked. Life is different now." Her husband passed away a few months ago. She gave us passion fruits from her garden, tangy and sweet.

2017-03-11 17.56.43

Mr. Shek ("Mr. Stone") and his wife moved to this fishing village 40 years ago, when the island where they'd grown up was immersed by a reservoir (Plover Cove). Ever since, they've run this wonton shop twelve hours a day, six days a week. Their soup's pungent with the fish dried and ground to flavor it. All their ingredients are handmade, of the old style no longer easily found in HK. Though their children are grown and they no longer need to work, they have no plans to stop. "If we didn't have this restaurant, we wouldn't know what to do." Photo and translation by Chen Kai Ping. — in Sam Mun Tsai, Hong Kong.

2017-03-16 18.24.48

Master Li Chuen Lam shows Kai Ping a book of Hakka Kung fu masters in which he's included. Though Master Li's ancestors were among the founders of the village three and a half centuries ago, his family couldn't afford the HK $10/month for kung fu lessons, so he started learning by watching others. Among many other things, he is officially authorized to teach the Unicorn Dance.


A fisherman in the village of Sam Mun Tsai contributes his signature to the project


Carman works seven days a week. On weekends, she runs an organic farm, Shan Ha Long Cheong 


Photos of the installation as a work-in-progress here.

The project reviewed in the South China Morning Post.

Completed installation photos here

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Open Studio 2017

January 9th, 2017

If you're in Hong Kong, you're welcome to stop by my annual Open Studio. Fresh work hangs on the walls in the bright Blue Gallery space of YCIS, the international school where I work as artist-in-residence. 

To visit, contact me for directions.

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