"Retainers of Anarchy" Limited Edition Scroll by Howie Tsui

Regular price $1,400.00

Please e-mail onlinestore@vanartgallery.bc.ca or call 604-662-4705 if you are interested in purchasing this item.

Retainers of Anarchy

Epson Ultrachrome pigmented ink on rice paper, mounted on paper and silk
30 x 239 cm (unrolled), edition of 50 + 2 AP
Numbered and chop signed by Howie Tsui
Packaged in keepsake box with embossed gold lettering and imagery


This limited edition scroll is derived from the hand drawn elements within Howie Tsui’s Retainers of Anarchy (2017), a five-channel algorithmic animation made of hundreds of hand-painted ink drawings. It originally debuted at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2017 and has been touring since. The work is a 25-metre scroll-like video installation that references life during the song dynasty (960–1279 CE), but undermines its idealized portraiture of social cohesion by setting the narrative in Kowloon’s notorious walled city—an ungoverned tenement of disenfranchised refugees in Hong Kong which was demolished in 1994.

The limited edition scroll is produced by Howie Tsui and ART LABOR Gallery, Shanghai. To receive a certificate of authenticity please contact ART LABOR Gallery directly by e-mailing Martin Kemble, Director of ART LABOR Gallery at m@artlaborgallery.com.


Howie Tsui (Tsui Ho Yan / 徐浩恩, b. 1978 in Hong Kong and raised in Lagos, Nigeria and Thunder Bay) currently lives and works in Vancouver*, Canada. Working in a variety of media—including ink brush work, sound sculptures, lenticular lighboxes, and installations—Tsui constructs tense, fictive environments that subvert venerated art forms and narrative genres, often stemming from the Chinese literati class. He employs a stylized form of derisive and exaggerated imagery as a way to satirize and disarm broadening regimes and their programs of cultural hegemony. The most notable branch of his practice involves the use of algorithmic animation sequences to raise questions around order, chaos and the potential of social harmony through self-organized societies. Tsui synthesizes diverging socio-cultural anxieties around superstition, trauma, surveillance and otherness through a distinctly outsider lens to advocate for liminal and diasporic experiences.

His recent solo exhibitions include the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (2021), Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida (2020); Burrard Arts Foundation, Vancouver (2020); Ottawa Art Gallery (2019); OCAT Museum, Xi’an, China (2018); and Vancouver Art Gallery (2017). Select group exhibitions include Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong (2021); Vancouver Art Gallery (2021); Asia Now, Paris (2019); Ottawa Art Gallery (2018); Art Labor, Shanghai (2015); Dalhousie Art Gallery, Nova Scotia (2015); Para Site, Hong Kong (2014); the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2014); and the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (2013). His work is in the public collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa Art Gallery, City of Ottawa, Global Affairs Canada, RBC Collection, Centre d'exposition de Baie-Saint-Paul and M+ Museum of Visual Culture (HK). Tsui received Canada Council's Joseph Stauffer Prize in 2005 and was long-listed for the Sobey Art Award in 2018. He holds a BFA from the University of Waterloo.

* traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.