This publication is produced on the occasion of the exhibition 'Fairy Tales - Works by José Drummond' at AFA Macau, 16 July - 29 August 2010.

'José Drummond is a Macao artist of boundless imagination and creativity. Since 1992, he has held 20 solo exhibitions and the forthcoming exhibition is his seventh solo show organised by the Art for All Society (AFA) in Macao. He is also a prolific artist who has participated in numerous joint exhibitions in different parts of the world. He has been dedicated to the creation of painting and video recordings for many years; personally, I am very fond of his video works. After much experimentation, he has gradually developed a unique style in this genre.

'There has been a lack of opportunity in Macao for the appreciation of video works hence José Drummond’s works are easily recognised at first sight. In his older works – such as The Painter (2005), The Fugitive (2006), The Narcissist (2007), and The Illusionist (2008) – José Drummond never ceased exploring the truth and falsehood of human nature and facts, while seeking to express himself through the techniques of partial enlargement, humour and metaphor. His works are indeed impressive and enable people to review them again and again - whether the playback in reverse order used to depict the beautiful scene of white chrysanthemum pedals returning to their receptacle or the nausea-inducing scene of vomiting honey from the mouth.

'In addition to his individual creations, José Drummond has endeavoured to promote the development of local video works by organising a variety of exhibitions and seminars. For example, he introduced the roving exhibition entitled Human Emotions Project – International Artists Using Film & Video to Macao and Beijing last year, which showcased more than 40 video works from around the globe, widening the horizons of local artists in video production.

'The forthcoming Fairy Tales exhibition will feature three sets of artworks. First, The Aesthetician comprising 85 magazine pages painted is a continuation of his previous work The Storyteller in terms of imagery and connotation. On the basis of common printed materials extracted from a wide variety of magazine advertisements promoting ‘beauty’ - ranging from whitening, anti-wrinkles, breast enhancement, waist sliming, weight loss, body shaping, liposuction to plastic surgery - it seeks to re-create these materials and endow them with a unique style.

'Today, it seems that ‘plasticity’ is the only way to pursue aesthetics, particularly a product promoted by a near-perfect star endorser. Rather than severely criticising the advertising focus or female pursuit of beauty or making use of this hot issue to express his real intentions, his work constantly adheres to his innate style and gives a new interpretation of the concept of ‘mask’ in a strict but humorous manner.

'The second work - The Fighter - echoes the artistic approach adopted in The Aesthetician, which attempts to give a new meaning to images on printed materials. Magazine advertisements are replaced by images of ‘massage girls’ on leaflets distributed on the streets. The series is composed of two patchworks in red and yellow colours, respectively, with 50 small images pieced together. From a distance, they look very much like pornography. What is advertised in these leaflets is the massage girl who has a ‘beautiful face and fabulous figure’ and provides a massage service at a price lower than that of a sauna centre. In addition, to ‘integrate their services with the community’, they also provide ‘delivery services’ such as door-to-door and hotel deliveries, etc.

'In ancient times, a heroine known as Hua Mulan joined an all-male army in place of her father. In today’s society, these ‘female fighters’ from all corners of the world are ‘outfitted’ and ‘dressed up’ for their role. The most distinctive features of José Drummond’s works often lie in his uncovering of life’s trivial details. He transforms himself into a ‘leaflet make-up artist’ in this work, which deeply impresses audiences.

'The third work - The Pretender - is the largest video work of his individual creations, which is a production for participating in the exhibition The Butterfly Effect - An Artistic Communication Project of Cross-Strait Four-Regions organised by renowned Chinese curator Feng Boyi early this year at He Xiang Ning Art Museum in Shenzhen. This work series is full of fun and connotations, in which José Drummond ingeniously incorporates the theme of the Internet and the nature of spreading ‘news’ from mouth to mouth via the Internet to interpret his association with The Butterfly Effect.

'He once conducted an experiment by registering on a networking website in Mainland China, following which he received many letters from females from different parts of China. Although these letters were seemingly written to seek friends or marriage partners, the more important motivation driving the girls was to seek change. But what would make them determine to leave their homeland? A better life and future? It is not difficult for one to sense the difference between their attitudes toward marriage and the mating preferences familiar to us. The ‘struggles’ and ‘fighters’ deep inside their hearts are similar to the exterior ‘struggles’ existing among the massage girls, although dissimilar in form.

'To accomplish this video work, José, regardless of the cold weather, spent several days filming eleven ‘female leads’ in a suburban area near the AFA Beijing Contemporary Art Centre early this year. Although the leads were only substitutes for the girls who responded to José Drummond’s letters through the website, the filming is surprisingly consistent with his idea.

'The Pretender, The Aesthetician and The Fighter are themed around feminism. The two shackles (patriarchy and feudalism) imposed on women in the past has been replaced by the notion of the ‘equality of men and women’ in modern society; however, the social status and rights of females still have room for improvement in Mainland China, in particular in poor rural areas far from cities. The social issues reflected in José Drummond’s works are exactly the ‘fairy tales’ that many girls from the Mainland dream of. Compared with the fairy tales we learned from an early age, modern ‘fairy tales’ in sugar-coated disguise seem more palatable, although more untrue and even further from reality.' (from website of AFA Macau)

Including artist statement and biography.

說若瑟.狄莫是澳門一位非常有想像力與創造力的藝術家,絕不為過。從九二年至今,若瑟已先後舉辦過二十次個人作品展,而這次由全藝社主辦的最新個展是他於澳門舉行的第七次,至於其他世界各地的聯展更是不勝其數,參與的展覽數目多,新創作品自然不少,若瑟一直保持著繪畫與錄像雙線發展,個人而言,我更喜歡他的錄像創作,經過無數的作品實驗,若瑟的錄像作品續漸建立了一套個人風格,在澳門能看到錄像作品的機會本已不多,凡有若瑟的作品,更容易叫人一眼便能認出,從舊作《畫家》(The Painter, 2005)、《逃避者》(The Fugitive, 2006)、《自戀者》(The Narcissist, 2007)、《虛幻主義者》(The illusionist, 2008)等,若瑟一直貫切他對人性、事實的真僞的探索,並透過“局部放大”、幽默與隱喻等手法表達出來,不論是甜美的作品如倒鏡式把白色小菊花的葉子一片一片插回花托上,還是看後令人食欲不振的口唇吐蜜糖,若瑟的作品往往叫人忍不住一看再看。


在《童話》這次展覽中,若瑟會展出三組作品,在《唯美者》(The Aesthetician)八十五張作品中,若瑟延續了過去《說故事者》(The Storyteller)的意涵,在現成印刷品上透過重繪去創造別具風格的新作品,而這些隨街可見的印刷品,大多是來自雜誌内不斷鼓吹“美”的廣告,從美白、去皺、豐胸、纖腰、瘦身、美體到抽脂、整容,仿佛“整”是今時今日追求美的唯一途徑,特別是在這些近乎完美的明星代言人的促銷下,一切都變得更有説服力,而若瑟的作品,絕對不是對消費主意或女性追求美麗的嚴厲批判,更不是借題發揮的惺惺作勢,只是延續他一貫創作主體風格,對“面具”的最新個人解讀,既嚴肅亦不失幽默。

另一組作品《戰士》(The Fighter)的創作手法與《唯美者》同出一轍,同樣在印刷品上繪畫,賦予新的意義,這次把雜誌廣告換成了街頭派發的“美女按摩”傳單,由五十幅小作品拼成的作品各有兩組,一紅一黃,遠看極像“黃色招牌”,這些傳單,所標榜的是“樣靚身材正”的按摩師,價錢比桑拿浴室優惠,還提供上門、上酒店等“到會服務”,真正做到“融入社區”,古有花木蘭代父從軍,今有來自五湖四海的女戰士,一身“裝備”與“裝扮”上陣。能找到生活中平凡細節發揮成作品,往往是若瑟創作的一大特色,而他這次化身為“傳單化妝師”,作品令人眼前一亮。

最後一件作品《僞裝者》(The Pretender)是他個人作品中,最大規模的創作,這套錄像作品是爲了本年初參與由内地著名策展人馮博一先生為深圳何香凝美術館策劃的展覽《蝴蝶效應——兩岸四地藝術交流展》所創作。這套充滿玩味的作品,若瑟巧妙地利用了互聯網作爲主體,發揮其一傳十、十傳百的特質,去詮譯對“蝴蝶效應”的聯想,若瑟先在内地交友網站登記,往後收到大量來自各省市女性的回覆,這些回信表面是交友徵婚,背後更大的代表意義是尋求改變,這些女孩不惜離鄉別井,為的是更美好的生活與未來?這種不難理解的婚姻態度與我們熟知的擇偶取向的差別,他們内心深處的“鬥爭”與《戰士》中那些女按摩師外在的“鬥爭”可說同出一轍,不同只是手段而已。爲了這套作品,本年初若瑟抵著嚴寒於北京全藝社附近的郊區進行多日拍攝,十一位現身銀幕的“女主角”並非網站回信的主人翁,而只是這次拍攝的替身,但效果卻出奇地協調。

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Chapter headings
Sugar-coated Fairy Tales

- CHU Cheokson James, 朱焯信

Fairy Tales — Works by Jose Drummond
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Fairy Tales — Works by Jose Drummond, 童話 — 若瑟·狄莫作品展