Subtitles or a love poem in plain language

Subtitles or a love poem in plain language is about creative acts and their origins, both subconscious and deliberate, from childhood and in what comes after. A silent, single-channel video, it operates on miscombinations of text and image. The text is a series of personal narrations, the images are b/w analog photographs taken over the last few years, and there is no audio to make space for the viewers’ own voices reading in their own heads. —Lesley-Anne Cao

A silent video of analog black and white images, Subtitles or a love poem in plain language is a meditation on the origins of creative acts. Each of its four-second frames contains a line and a photograph; neither illustrates the other. And so, with this mismatch, we are thrown into a dilemma: read the text or interpret the image (which says nothing of an attempt to draw connections, however unintended by the artist). Subtitles began as a response to Édouard Lévé’s celebrated memoir Autoportrait before transforming into an auto-fictional foray into the artist’s creative origins and personal histories. Cao delves, with poetic brevity, into what she calls ‘proto-practices’, or the unassuming creative acts performed in our youth: like the writing and photography of Cao’s childhood, neither of which have, until now, made it into her artistic practice. —Tendai John Mutambu

Production Year



UK Premiere


Lesley-Anne Cao



Subtitle Languages

English Filipino

Primary Contact

Lesley-Anne Cao