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  • machette

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:46AM / Standard Entry

    I once had a girlfriend who would cry every time she had an orgasm. I know a statement like this is ripe for sarcasm but it was as if she was consumed by loss. That the moment of happiness had slipped away uncontrollably.
    Maybe my life is a situation comedy, a series of anecdotes.
    I had dinner with friends at the weekend and sat next to an old Italian guy. He was a chef and we small talked. A few days later I met a friend for coffee at the Mandarin and the Italian was sitting in the middle of the restaurant alone on a table with 2 empty chairs. We sat down as if we'd been expected and talked a little, swapping stories of our histories, discussing books and films. The Italian asked us if we were hungry and then got up, walked into the kitchen, where, we saw through the glass windows, the chefs made way for him and allowed him access to their supplies. He bought back the best risotto I've ever had in my life. It turns out the man was Antonio Carluccio, OBE. One of the most respected chefs in the world.
    He was 72 and a very simple man, polite, funny and considerate. I really like him. I wonder if I'd liked the risotto more if I'd known this? I found out later that he 'accidentally' stabbed himself in the chest a couple of years back. If I'd known I would've wanted to see the scar. I would've shown him mine too.

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  • chunk

    Saturday, May 22, 2010 1:09PM / Standard Entry


    A great review from ArtForum. Thanks Charles. Thanks Claire.

    We finally got a review in SCMP. They really liked the show too. And a nice write up in Wall Street Journal.


    On the whole people enjoy the show. Even little kids love it and run around the giant playground. The show is accessible to the un-initiated but I don't think it would be if there weren't such depth behind the facade. Without the year long conceptualising it would just be disneyland on crack.

    Meanwhile I gotta finish this triptych for ArtHK which starts next Wednesday. I strongly recommend you go. It's always packed full of awesome art from 150 international galleries. See you there.



  • 852

    Monday, May 17, 2010 12:29PM / Standard Entry

    It's Monday and only a couple of weeks left for the show.

    My buddy Greg has been here to visit. He has been in China doing business. He told me that Europe will be to the Chinese what Venice is to the rest of the world, a once mighty city, now just a tourist trap. That China has moved beyond the West already and they will no longer need us other than for 'amusement'.

    We had an amazing turnout for the exhibition with 62000 people coming to see the work. And the wonderful thing was 90% were local Hong Kong Chinese.
    This was very satisfying to see as I'd always hoped there would be an impact on the local community so clearly the word of mouth has been working, as has the generous pushing by all involved. Dan Wu, Grace Huang , Race Wong, Prodip, Alivenotdead, our staff and many more have all been promoting the show on blogs and facebook pages.

    People who come to the show take a lot of photos of the work. It's a ripple expanding from the splash we've made. Well, I know HK people will take photos of anything, mostly what they eat at restaurants, but still, it's all about sharing information and recording experiences, so it's all good. Someone asked me why I would allow people to take photos of the work as it wasn't the usual practice in art galleries and museums. I don't see what is negative about people taking photos of my work.

    I've certainly made a few complaints over the weeks but I think I have to take some of it back. The government took a huge risk by giving us any money at all and it sends out a wonderfully positive message to the HK art community; that the opportunity is there for support.
    As far as I know this is the biggest contribution they have ever made to a HK artist project and they must be applauded and respected for this support (as should Swire). So they may be a little bureaucratic about how the event works and how we spend the money, but then so would I be if I gave someone a million HK$.
    So to all those at the HKSAR Mega Events Fund, thank you so much for giving us some funding. We are extremely grateful.

    Hopefully this opens the door for more artists in the future.

    Building Hope and Glory has been a tremendous learning experience for all involved. I now know how to run an art museum! From construction, to PR, to accounts, to admin and event management. And so do Gary, Ingrid, Lyn, Viola, Coco and all our other staff.
    We've managed to develop a full on art organisation. We can deal with government, corporate, audience, education, celebrity, kids. disabled....and handle maintenance, technology, security, finance. construction.....and on and on.
    We've genuinely developed cultural 'humanware'.

    I'm not sure what happens to all that knowledge and experience after the show. Maybe we should build our own permanent space out on that wasteland at West Kowloon.....

    I think we'll all start work on  the next project and see where it takes us but in the meantime for any artists or organisations out there, we have a wealth of information which you are welcome to access. For artists of HK especially, my door is open, you can have all my contacts, government application forms, inside info, whatever you need. Even the grumpy 60s,70s and 80s HK artists who think the show is shit. All you need to do is reach out and I will give you whatever information you need for free. Email me direct at: [email protected]

    Amazing show. Amazing People. No complaints. Everybody wins.


  • faint mohawk

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 11:42AM / Standard Entry

    It's Sunday and it's been a great week at Hope and Glory.
    The numbers keep going up daily, yesterday around 1500 people came through. I dropped by in the afternoon and there was a great atmosphere in the space.
    I was introduced to a guy called Carsten. I had a quick chat with him and he said he was an artist too working out of Europe doing big installations. He  told me he didn't generate his own projects but was often invited to produce installations.
    After he left I was told he was Carsten Holler. He's actually a very famous artist internationally and I realise I've seen his work before at the Tate Modern because he built this awesome sculpture in the main turbine hall that consisted of slides (like from a kids playground) that were a few stories tall that you could get in to slide down to the ground floor from the top of the museum.
    I googled him when I got back to work in the afternoon and looked at some of his work. He has a lot of fairytale and fairground reference in his work. I wonder if when he walked around the show he thought I'd been inspired by him. Here's some of his work and some that's a bit like mine....

    I guess it's normal that artist stumble across the same visual references and are inspired by the same stories and mythologies.

    I wish I'd known his work better so when I met him we could've swapped stories, he probably could have taught me much. He shows work all over the world in great spaces.

    We had a forum on Friday at the show where some local arts people talked about their projects around Hong Kong. One guy, Wallace Chang Ping-Hung, talked about the redevelopment of Kai Tak, really clever guy with lots of excellent ideas. Others, Ah Kok (Wong Chuck Kok) and Horace Tse, talked about the arts community out at San Po Kong. I didn't even know there was one!
    It was re-assuring to know there are other people in HK just getting on with it, making art with whatever resources they have an that there are intelligent and thoughtful people trying to do positive cultural development in Hong Kong.

    We were picked by Artforum as one of the best shows in the world right now, here's a quote from the review:

    'But therein lies the show’s cleverness. Birch’s aim is not to mimic a museum or break new boundaries, but to craft “a metaphorical world, a conceptual circus” to entertain the masses and create new possibilities for art presentation in the city. When his work is taken on these terms, it’s hard to find fault.'

    Not bad. Biggest art publication in the world gives us respect. And, if you didn't know, we had a half page amazing review in the International Herald Tribune with great photos too. So along with the NY Times article it's been a very good week for the show.

    Meanwhile I need to get back to painting, managed to finish 2 huge ones over the last 2 weeks and am now on the next couple. Trying to get something nice ready for ArtHK as well as overdue commissioned work. Would rather be just hanging at hope and Glory all day though, it's just fun being there and talking with people.

    Stuff in production at my studio. These 2 of Race Wong....



  • almost....

    Thursday, May 13, 2010 4:36PM / Standard Entry

    time is running out for Hope and glory.
    only 2 more weeks and the whole show is dismantled and recycled.
    if you haven't already been, here's some shots of what you're missing.....



  • A full time artist, Simon Birch is a young Hong Kong artist who's made a huge impact with his energy and vision in the last few years...


  • Occupation:  Painter
  • Gender: Male
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