A black and white headshot of the artist, Nicholas Aiden


B. 1988


loop holes (2018-20)

Infinity Loop Hang (2019)
C-print, 8” x 14”

Market Special (2018)
C-print, 8” x 14”

Talking Ear (2019)
C-print, 12” x 17.5”

Tree Climber (2018)
C-print, 12” x 17.5”

Two Bananas (2018)
C-print, 44” x 65”

Strapping Heels (2018)
C-print, 12” x 17.5”

Shrimp Fingers (2019)
C-print, 30” x 44”

Blue Roll (2017)
C-print, 8” x 14”

Fallen Tree (2020)
C-print, 12” x 17.5”

Red Glows Behind (2020)
C-print, 8” x 14”

Legs Crossing (2019)
C-print, 30” x 44”

Brush the Head Gold (2018)
C-print, 12” x 17.5”

Banana Binoculars
by Geoffrey Farmer

While clumsily typing on my phone, in relationship to Tom Hsu’s exhibition title, loop holes, my phone inexplicitly autocorrects my entry to the word, nefarious; i.e. outrageous, vile, vicious, odious, heinous, shameful, degenerate, corrupt, criminal, depraved, evil, flagrant. This slip gives me pause to think about the means of escape, or the laws to be evaded that Hsu title and work might propose. If this feels heavy, I use it only to establish the field of gravity to which the lightness and playfulness of Hsu’s observations orbit.

Of the twelve photographs selected for We Buy Gold, the largest photograph, Two Bananas is the alchemical center of this solar system. Here, fruit eyes comically slump exhausted over a mirror, creating a face that wryly grins back at us, a Cheshire Cat, as we look at the bare butt of a naked figure, suspended supernaturally on a huge phallus growing up from the forest floor. In Hsu’s Wonderland, looking through banana binoculars, ears speak, heads turn to gold, fingers shrimp, and the Red Glows Behind evokes the sensual heat of an extraterrestrial atmosphere, or premonition of what might happen to the butt in Tree Climber. Libidinal energy and kinship function as dark matter binding these various clusters. Fallen Tree is humorous or allegorical in relationship to Tree Climber and Shrimp Fingers evokes fingers in mouths, or the sensually stretching of what lays between Legs Crossing.

In the spirit of double entendre, the word loop could also refer to the photographer’s loupe, the small magnifier that Hsu most likely uses in his analogue approach and this evokes an image of close inspection, of the pupil held close to image. I cannot help but think of the “Fruit Machine” devised by the Canadian government to measure the diametre of the pupils for supposed erotic response, as a way to weed out gay people from civil service. This takes me back to Hsu’s proposition made by his title, and the playful freedom felt in his work, as a force challenging and circumnavigating those that seek to label our natural and beautiful desires as anything but that.


Tom Hsu is a visual artist whose work seeks to investigate the curious condition of spaces, and their correlation to the bodies that attend them. He comes from a base in analogue photography, and this stability allows him to extend into made, found, and choreographic sculpture, all of which deal with the everyday mundane. He currently lives and works in Vancouver and holds a BFA in Photography from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. He undertook a residency at Burrard Arts Foundation in Spring 2018 and has exhibited at Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, Centre A, Yactac Gallery, Unit/Pitt, and Index Gallery.

Find more info about Tom’s work on his website, and follow him on Instagram here.

Over more than two decades, Geoffrey Farmer (b. 1967, Vancouver; lives/works: Kauai, Hawaii) has developed a complex body of work that incorporates drawing, collage, sculpture, film, video, performance, and writing. A 1992 graduate of Emily Carr University of Art + Design, he represented Canada at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. He has presented solo exhibitions at Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2017); The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (2016); Vancouver Art Gallery (2015); Art Gallery of Ontario (2014); Pérez Art Museum, Miami, and Kunstverein in Hamburg (2014); Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich and Nottingham Contemporary (2013); The Curve Gallery, Barbican, London (2013); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2011); Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2008); The Drawing Room, London, UK (2007) and The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto (2005).


Each artist was invited to choose a writer to respond to their work included in the exhibition, or in a few cases, the curator suggested a writer for them. All of these collected essays can be downloaded as a PDF document here.

* PHOTO OF TOM HSU: Grady Mitchell

External Links

During his spring 2018 residency at Burrard Arts Foundation, Tom Hsu speaks about his practice and his work for the culminating exhibition, “Here, under our tongue.”