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Ruiji Han & Li Yi-Fan – HARD(core)DRIVE

Tofu Space, Læderstræde 15, 1201 København K
23 Feb 2023 – 10 May 2024

When the circuit shatters, madness erupts. In HARD(core)DRIVE, Ruiji Han and Li Yi-Fan presents a harrowing straggle to retrieve what is bound to be lost, when the balance between the intangible realm and the tangible grows increasingly discrepant. As the cracks created by the march of progress sprawl across the collective consciousness, visions from alternate worlds incite an internal reflection of the human condition.

Li Yi-Fan (b. 1989, Taipei, Taiwan) is a Taipei-based artist who utilises game engines, self-developed software, and animation accessed through VR headsets and body controllers to impromptu sculpt and script video works delving into the escalating complexity of technological subjugation, digital existence and the mutated memories of cyberspace. Embedded in the aesthetic context of machinima, he creates absurd and eccentric narratives by immersing himself in the metaverse to explore the alternate realities of the post-internet generation, while manipulating virtual spaces to discover its illogical and limitless nature. 

Ruiji Han (b. 1992, Shandong, China) is a London-based artist primarily working with sculpture, installation, and performance. Crafted from raw materials such as steel, concrete and biological remnants, Ruiji raises shrines of brutality that evoke a transcendental nature, detached from the present. Drawing from ancestral belief systems of Shamanism and ritual practices in the northern part of China, they explore spirituality as a means of rediscovering alternative worldviews to challenge anthropocentrism, establish a closer connection to the natural world, and engage with identity, memory, and transformation of self in a disintegrated society. 

Betty Apple – Mermaid Awakening Club

Tofu Space, Læderstræde 15, 1201 København K
7 Dec 2023 – 10 Feb 2024

Emerging from Betty Apple’s decade-long tenure of performative and digital exploration of the transformative potentials of the mermaid creature, the solo exhibition “Mermaid Awakening Club” extends and reconfigures the narrative and symbolism engraved within the gilled being. In opposition to the traditional and introverted ‘Little Mermaid’ who sacrificed her voice for the ability to step onto land, Betty Apple’s iconoclastic avatar is anything but quiet. 

Drawing on her own lived experience as a millennial growing up in post-colonial Taiwan, rave culture, electronic noise, body rebellion, and visceral performativity stood as rampant acts of freedom and activism following the period of martial law (1949-1987). With her own body as a vessel of protest against anthropocentric structures, Betty Apple carries this legacy into a cacophony of noise and visual disruption, as she guides the viewer through cathartic outbursts of hedonistic cries for freedom. Drawing parallels to electronic music, queer sci-fi, and post-internet phenomena, ‘Mermaid Awakening Club’ presents a radical recomposition of the world order in which the classifications of gender, body, and race are freed within an underwater cyber ecstasy. 

‘Mermaid Awakening Club’ kicked off with an explosive celebration in collaboration with GL STRAND, when Betty Apple performed her work ‘Mermaid Escape Room’ in GL STRAND’s banquet hall. As an initiation ritual in the form of electronic rhythms, party lasers, and liberating dance, the performance was an open invitation to Betty Apple’s mermaid cult (see video documentation below).

Betty Apple (b. 1987, Chiayi) is a multidisciplinary artist – and professional mermaid diver – working primarily with performance and sound, as well as text-based statements, animation, AI, and video. With a strong focus on body politics and queer-activism, she explores the dynamics of identity, gender, body, consumerism and technology in a highly immersive practice enhanced by her grotesque yet playful visual language in which she appropriates the visual iconography of digital platforms and pop culture phenomena embedded in our daily lives. Betty Apple lives and works in Taipei holding a B.A. in Theater and M.A. in New Media Art from Taipei National University of the Arts. Her works have been presented at renowned art institutions and festivals in Taiwan and internationally, including the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Casino Luxembourg, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Biennale Jogja in Yogyakarta, Play Freely Music Festival in Singapore, Mutek Japan in Tokyo, Taipei Performing Arts Centre, and Taipei Biennial.

The exhibition is realised with generous support from S. C. Van Fonden, Danish Arts Foundation, the Municipality of Copenhagen (Rådet for Visuel Kunst), and National Culture and Arts Foundation R.O.C. (Taiwan).

The opening performance is realised with generous support from Snabslanten.

Photo 1: Chien-Wen Lin
Photo 2-9: Jonathan Damslund
Video: Barsk Projects

Exhibition: Reading Room – a pop up installation at GL STRAND (2023)

Reading Room is an inclusive space for contemplation and reflection on the nuances of gender, body, identity and culture through the perspectives of a broad range of voices affiliated to China and its global diaspora. The pop-up installation was on show at the art center GL STRAND from 5 January – 12 March 2023 in connection to the exhibition Stepping Out! Female Identities in Chinese Contemporary Art.

Here, visitors could immerse themselves into a kaleidoscopic and changing selection of art books, photo books, fiction and academia bringing together a diverse expanse of exceptional expressions of and attitudes towards contemporary China and the seeking of equality, freedom of expression, sexual liberation, and counterculture. The installation invited visitors to grab a book and park themselves in a large daybed or to take a seat in front of the screen to experience queer activist and filmmaker Popo Fan’s documentary The VaChina Monologues. 

Reading Room was decorated by Spanish-Chinese artist Yi Ten Lai (b.1996, Bailén, Spain) who presented a selection of works exploring the transculturality of materials, sounds and symbols rooted in the examination of contemporary iterations of traditional crafts and rites affiliated to her multicultural background. Conjugating objectual pieces – such as drawings, ceramics, and sound installations – with performative elements flirting with the rhetorics of rituals, Yi Ten Lai made room for a space in-between East and West paving the way for a transcultural scope and dialogue on the perspectives reflected in the pop-up installation.

Initiated and realized by Tofu Collective in collaboration with GL STRAND
Curated by Martin Wendelbo, founder of Tofu Collective
Art installations by Yi Ten Lai
Video work by Popo Fan
Furniture design by Sofie Sundby and patchwork by Jacob Mundt
Handwoven textiles from Chongming Island and stools provided by Fanshuang Kong
Graphic design and communication by WAAITT
Supported by S.C. Van Fonden 

Event: New Year’s Celebration at GL STRAND (2023)

In connection to the exhibition Stepping Out! Female Identities in Chinese Contemporary Art at GL STRAND, Tofu Collective was invited to host a celebration of Lunar New Year by gathering people around performance, music, talks and food. 

Programme of the day: 

Sound performance by Spanish-Chinese artist Yi Ten Lai, titled Breath of the Periphery, where she invited local musicians to breathe life – and sound – into a series of ceramic ocarinas taking the shape as defunctional teapots.  

Launch, talk and book signing of the photo book Lens and Landscape published by Norwegian publishing house Northing / Kinakaal in collaboration with Norwegian photographer Tonje Bøe Birkeland and Chinese photographer Maleonn. 

Hot pot dinner at GL STRANDs café by Hot Pot Republic and jian bing stand in the courtyard by Jing Xing as well as a baijiu bar serving bubbles and drinks made with the Chinese liquor. 

Concert by young rising star CXCX Chu Chu, who performed with a rap experience mixing Chinese and English language. 

The event was presented in collaboration with Politiken Ibyen and sponsored by Ibyen Bajeur.
The event was supported by S. C. Van Fonden and Snabslanten.

Exhibition: 100 Online Exhibitions (2020-2023)

In the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, Tofu Collective organised an online exhibition format based on an extensive open call giving the opportunity for photo artists around the world to share their work during the shelter-in-place periods. Each week, a new series of works was shown online gathering in total 100 photo artists bringing together a broad range of artistic expressions, cultural perspectives and depictions of different places on earth not possible to encounter during that time. 

Featured artists: An Rong Xu, Argus Paul Estabrook, Boihugo, Beihua Guo, Chan Wai-Kwong, Chang Yu Hsuan, Chao Zhang, Chih-Hsien Chen, Claire Sunho Lee, Daigo Tsukuda, Etang Chen, Gao Shan, Gendai Igarashi, Haishu Chen, Haiyi Liao, Hang Tam, Haruto Tsuji, Henry Hu, Hiroshi Watanabe, Hua Weicheng, Humankind0026, Jiageng Lin, Jialin Yan, Jiayu Zhang, Jingran Zhang, Juan Sea, Kai Keijiro, Kai Wang, Kao Xiaoxi, Keita Kusaka, Kenny X. Li, Kenshi Daito, Kenya Sugai, Kim Tae Kyun, Kino Koike, Kisara Okada, Kohei Kawatani, Li Hui, Li Wei, Luo Yang, Liang Xiu, Leslie Shang Zhefeng, Mandy Wu, Mankichi Shinshi, Matsunaga Toru, Maya Akashika, Minami Sakamoto, Morrison Gong, Peter Tong, Pixy Liao, Puzzleman Leung, Qiu Yiran, Ren Lingfei, Ruya Qian,  Ryo Osakada, Ryotaro Hashimoto, Sakurai Ryuata, Seok-Woo Song, Shi Yangkun, Shin Noguchi,  Sho Niiro, Sungjin Park, Suzuna Tajima, Taisuke Nakano, Takahiro Mizushima, Tang Nanjing, Tielin Ding, Toby Zeng, Uetsugu Kotomi, Vera Xia, Wan Chaofan, Wang Lu, Wang Yuxi, Wang Ningde, Wang Qingsong, Wei-Chen Li, Wenxuan Wang, Wenxin Zhang, William Zou, Wong Wei-Him, Wu Liewei, Wu Yang, Xiangyu Liu, Xiaoxiao Xu, Xiaoyue Pu, Xinhao Cheng, Xuebing Du, Yan Yibo,  Yan Yufeng, Yin Xiangqi, Yosuke Shimizu, Yota Yoshida, Yu Yu, Yuan Yao, Yuhan Shen, Yuta Fuchikami, Zhang Huan, Zhang Xiao, Ziyi Le, Zhou Na, Zhou Pinglang and Zhou Qiang.

Exhibition: The Elsewhere that I Long for (2022)

Yi Ten Lai (b.1996, Bailén, Spain) is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the transculturality of materials, sounds and symbols to question the notion of cultural and national belonging as a Spanish and Hongkongese descendant. Rooted in the examination of contemporary iterations of traditional crafts and rites affiliated to her multicultural background as an integral modus operandi, Yi Ten Lai conjugates objectual pieces – such as drawings, decollages, oil paintings, ceramics and sound installations – with performative elements flirting with the rhetorics of rituals. In the exhibition The Elsewhere that I Long for, the artist presents a body of works reflecting on cultural miscegenation and the elusiveness of her Asian heritage, questioning the contrast between essential identity and performative identity. The works altogether reflects a third space between East and West as a binary deconstruction questioning cultural identity at the intersection of alterity and belonging.

Place: Springbrættet 6a, Heimdalsgade 6a, 2200 København N
Date: 16 December – 30 December
Initiated and realized by: Tofu Collective in collaboration with Yi Ten Lai Fernandez
Curated by: Martin Wendelbo
Graphic design and communication: WAAITT
Supported by: S. C. Van Fonden


Event: CC Sets – Tofu Collective x Chinabot x Copenhagen Contemporary (2022)

In collaboration with Chinabot, Tofu Collective organized the framework for a cross-continental DJ lineup in the raw environment of Copenhagen Contemporary’s outdoor space. The multidisciplinary music label and network of artists from Asia contributed with uplifting rhythms composed especially for the night’s event by Jaeho Hwang (KR/UK) and Arexibo (KR), and was streamed across continental borders.

Exhibition: Luo Yang and Lin Zhipeng – INSIDE-OUT (2022)

Tofu Collective curated an outdoor exhibition made in collaboration with the two world-renowned photographers Luo Yang (b. 1984, Shenyang, China) and Lin Zhipeng (b. 1979, Shantou, China) for the festival center at Copenhagen Photo Festival from 2 June till 12 June. 

As key figures in the emergent wave of Chinese photographers on the international art stage, Luo Yang and Lin Zhipeng stand in their own distinctive ways as mouthpieces for a generation they both involve and reflect in their influential and deeply personal practices. Coming of age during a period of fundamental economic and social changes in China, the two artists complement each other as a broader expression of a certain zeitgeist of the post-80’s and 90’s generation defying societally-imposed expectations and stereotypes in an otherwise conservative and restrictive society, where the gap between generations can be hard to bridge. 

Through a raw and lively snapshot-aesthetic balancing preparation and improvisation, Lin Zhipeng creates explicit and playful representations of the desires and freedoms sought by a liberated youth who indulge in love and life, oscillating between jubilation and melancholy. These are expressed through the body as an aesthetic focal point, culminating into a not-so-private diary of the artist’s own circle of friends. A leading figure of the next generation of photographers in China, his work has been exhibited worldwide, including at MEP in Paris, Delaware Contemporary Museum, Walther Collection in Ulm, and Apalazzo Gallery in Bescia, Italy. 

Luo Yang’s poetic and honest portraits captured in intimate scenes serve as a testament to the depicted young subjects’ individuality and explore themes of freedom, diversity and independence while challenging traditional beliefs about beauty, identity, and gender – representative of a generation that both celebrates and still defies its reality. Named one of BBC’s 100 Women in 2018, her works have been exhibited worldwide, including at Stieglitz19 in Antwerp, MO-Industries Gallery in Berlin and Ai Weiwei’s Fuck Off 2 (2013) at Groninger Museum in the Netherlands.

INSIDE-OUT invited visitors into a safe space for expression reflected through the lenses of Luo Yang and Lin Zhipeng. This juxtaposition of private indoor scenes in an outdoor public setting acted as a catalyst for reflecting on the nuances of gender, body, and identity among an exceptional and visionary – yet underrepresented – generation within contemporary China.

The works were displayed as part of the installation, Space Frame, which has been designed by architect Jakob Holmqvist in collaboration with Lenschow & Pihlmann.

The exhibition was supported by Snabslanten.

Exhibition: Rooms Within China (2021)

Photo-exhibition and book release at eventspace Asia House, Indiakaj 16, Copenhagen Ø on 9 Oct 2021. 

20 photographs by 20 noteworthy contemporary Chinese photographers from the book Rooms Within China were exhibited in large scale prints in the historical building of the East Asiatic Company. The exhibition took the visitors on a visual journey through different rooms within China, conveying the contributors’ individual life experience, observations, and reflections. By challenging conventional representations of China and its citizens in the global digital landscape, the diverse range of photographs acted as a gateway to a different narrative in which the many perceptions of China are not forced into inorganic homogeneity but left de-centralized, personal, and individual.

Featured photographers: Chen Ronghui, Coca Dai, Feng Li, Gao Shan, Jialin Yan, Li Lin, Li Zhengde, Lin Zhipeng, Luo Yang, Pixy Liao, Shi Yangkun, Wang Lu, Wenjun Chen & Yanmei Jiang, Wenxin Zhang, Wu Liewei, Xiaoxiao Xu, Yan Cong, Yuyang Liu, Zhou Pinglang, Zhu Lanqing.

Generously supported by S. C. Van Fonden and Snabslanten.

Publication: Rooms Within China (2021)

A kaleidoscopic presentation of 100 photographs captured by 20 of the most noteworthy contemporary photographers from China. 

Originating from a wide array of areas, generations and artistic approaches, the contributors altogether form an eclectic image of Chinese contemporary photography and illustrate a broad spectrum of expressions within the complex and diverse phenomenon that is China. All contributions are encapsulated inside rooms as the frame of setting — be it public constructions or private homes — echoing everything from daily chores, work, leisure, pleasure, and interior decor to intimacy, open-mindedness, escapism, current trends, countercultures, and generation gaps. 

Featured photographers: Chen Ronghui, Coca Dai, Feng Li, Gao Shan, Jialin Yan, Li Lin, Li Zhengde, Lin Zhipeng, Luo Yang, Pixy Liao, Shi Yangkun, Wang Lu, Wenjun Chen & Yanmei Jiang, Wenxin Zhang, Wu Liewei, Xiaoxiao Xu, Yan Cong, Yuyang Liu, Zhou Pinglang and Zhu Lanqing.

Generously supported by Politiken Fonden and S. C. Van Fonden. 

Published in close collaboration with the photographers and a broad range of prominent voices intimately and professionally familiar with China. 

Texts in English and Chinese by: He Yining and Tofu Collective
Edited and curated by: Martin Wendelbo and Nikolaj Ahlefeldt
Translation: Liao Dong
Graphic design: Louis Montes
Published by: Tofu Collective
Pages: 240

Selected for Space on Paper – Jimei x Arles’ Chinese Contemporary Photobook Exhibition at Three Shadows Gallery in Xiamen, China, Nov. 26th 2021-Jan. 3rd 2022. 

Press: SupChina, Weekendavisen (no. 41 2021), Heartbeats, Art Reveal Magazine and Sjællandske. 

Talks: Dansk Kinesisk Forening, Photo Book Week Aarhus and Royal Danish Consulate General in Shanghai.


Exhibition: Youth in China (2021)

Tofu Collective curated a digital exhibition at Fotografisk Center’s online exhibition platform On-The-Go from 1 Apr 2021 – 6 Jun 2021. 

The featured photographers Jialin Yan, Lin Zhipeng and Luo Yang are all part of, and reflects, the new wave of contemporary photography in China, coming of age during a period of significant economic and social change in China. By including friends and closely identifying with their subjects’ experiences, the exhibited photographers portray a young generation who indulge in joy and life in an otherwise ever-changing society, where the gap between generations can be hard to bridge.

Press: Kunsten.nuFotografisk Center

Publication: Ten Tofu Recipes From Vesterbro’s Asian Markets – 1st and 2nd edition (2020-2021)

Photo- and cookbook made in collaboration with six Asian markets in Vesterbro, Copenhagen, and photographer Frederik Valdemar Kjeldgaard. 

The publication was made in order to shed light upon an often overlooked part of the neighborhood through photography and local takes on tofu recipes from East Asia. The publication presents 10 shopkeeper-recommended tofu recipes alongside photographs documenting the everyday life around the unique shops. 

A special thanks to: Bangkok Trading, China Town Market, Denn Jai Market, KFT, Thai Asian Market, Thai Supermarket
Photographs: Frederik Valdemar Kjeldgaard
Backcover illustration: Daniel Laursen
Edited, designed and published by: Tofu Collective
Pages: 80

Press: Heartbeats, Vesterbroliv

Publication: TOFU (2019)

Magazine inspired publication brought together in collaboration between creatives around the globe who share the vision of strengthening the cultural and creative ties between East and West.

Through 212 pages of interviews, design, writing, art, academia and photography, TOFU disseminates an eclectic range of some very personal and vulnerable thoughts created and reflected by talented creatives – all sharing a connection to East Asia. As the first publication by Tofu Collective, TOFU is a complex introduction to our association’s work with visual art and contemporary culture from East Asia.

Selected featured artists: Argus Paul, Chixi, Yoong Jang, Pixy Liao, Hui-Chin Cho, Marco Arguello, Kristen Liu-Wong, Yung Hua Chen, Eleanor Ai Wang, Espen Cook, Tim Wu, Lin Zhipeng, Taekyun Kim, Li Hui, among others.

Generously supported by S. C. Van Fonden and The Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation. 

Texts in Danish, English and Chinese by: Eva Tind, Sara Vita Justesen, Kristian Mondrup Nielsen, Gunhild Borggreen, Camilla Schack, Josefine Højholt, Gustav Dahlslund Leth, Karoline Severinsen, Sofie Højgaard, Burglind Jungmann and Frederik Kitchell Gaub.
Edited, designed and published by: Tofu Collective
Pages: 212

Press: Stack Magazine, Heartbeats, Kulturen på P1, Radio Loud (Klub #45 – 22. juni 2020)