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Simon Birch
Painter
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NonStopArtProduction....

This has been a long couple of months.

I got 2 exhibitions opening this week so here's a little blog about it all.

First up is a show at the Louis Vuitton on Canton Road. They have a gallery inside and they asked if I'd like to do an exhibition there. The only catch being I'd have to come up with something within a month. I have no spare paintings to show and a month is not enough time to produce new stuff, especially as I'd already committed to show new paintings at other projects.

So, instead I decided to show the photos I've been taking this year for a book I've written.

I had a bit of a life changing experience this year. I nearly died. So I wrote about it. I was also, through the ordeal, followed around by a couple of HK photographers. One is Wing Shya and the other is Stanley Wong (Anothermountainman). After they finished taking photos of me, I went off and took photos of many people that I knew. Finally we ended up with hundreds of photos which form a documentary of my life over the last 6 months.

Stanley Wong (anothermountainman) did all the production side, he did an awesome job.

the whole LV shop to myself

installing

During the original photography, 6 months ago, Stanley asked me to produce a spontaneous piece of art within a couple of hours. I threw up a big messy drawing. You can see it here in the background.

LV asked me to repeat the experiment so there are now 2 sets of messy, spontaneous works on paper that also show at the exhibition. The new set was also done in just 1 day.

Here's the old set installed at LV

and here are the new set of drawings.

before installation

and all ready to go

Some of the photos, these b&w are Stanley's

these colour ones are mine

one of me by stanley wong

the LV consultant Jonathan with the layout

Opening was crazy busy, A.N.D. Josie, Dan Wu and Lisa S all showed up to support.

So that show opens Wednesday 19th November and is on until January.

The next show is at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. This is in the Cultural Centre in TST. That ugly pink building next to Star Ferry. This show is a group exhibition by 8 artists and is a response to an artist called Antonio Mak. This is a young HK artist who sadly died of cancer just as he seemed set for a wonderful art career. A very talented sculptor, he was only 43 when he died.

Here's one of his sculptures. Like me he has used tigers and horses in his work.

For my part of the show I came up with 4 connected pieces of art:

1:

'Soghomon Tehlirian'

4 films of a real live tiger projected on 4 screens in a large black room. 10 minutes long each.

2:

A set of 5 paintings (which have individual titles). there is another set of 4 blank canvases with no titles. sizes for all range from 3ftx3ft to 7ftx7ft

the paintings are called collectively 'Argonautica (All That Is)'

the blank canvases are called collectively 'Hamartia (All That Will Never Be)'

3:

'Huntingdon'

300 HK$100 notes folded (origami) into the shape of a tiger, signed and numbered. These are handed out to the audience by the artist at the opening

4:

'Hartford Toll'

An empty space in the centre of the video room where a real tiger should have stood.

(explanations of the titles at the end of the blog)

Still from the film.

The film is of a tiger running around on a black background. It plays on 4 screens in a black room so it kind feels like a tiger is walking around you when you stand in the middle of the room.

The idea of the film is about freedom and restraint. The tiger is an endangered Bengal tiger and was filmed in a prepared studio, in UK, with the camera crew inside cages for their protection. It took a day to shoot with 2 tigers. the tiger looks beautiful and provokes an instant reaction, especially with the sad music in the background by the Polish composer Gorecki.

The film was supposed to also be projected on the outside of the cultural centre (it's a large blank wall with no windows) but again, the museum would not allow this.

Originally there would have been a real tiger in the middle of the room too but the museum would not allow it so instead i'll be sitting in the middle of the room handing out 'paper tigers'. These are origami, real, $100 notes folded to look like tigers. I'll be giving out 300 of them, the entire $30,000 budget that the museum gave me for my work, at the opening. My work cost way more than this to produce but the museum wouldn't give me any more money.

It will be interesting to see if people come to the show just to get the money (maybe the only way to get people to come to the museum of art). Also interesting if people keep the paper tigers as a piece of art or spend it. Anyway, it's a statement about how shit our art museum is and how worthless their money is. It's also a statement about the current financial crisis and how worthless money is becoming.

Here's the cash on the night

folded into origami tigers

Here's me at the opening giving away the $30,000 in cash, signed, numbered and folded into little tigers.

The artworks also represent past, present and future in relation to antonio mak. The paintings are the past, the blank paintings are the future and the film is the present. the paintings are of women in movement, some blurred, some clear.

This is me on my last day in the studio. Somehow managed to paint 12 works and make 4 films in around 2 months. I had only 1 day off and was working 12-14 hours a day.

The museum exterior

Here's the work stacked up for installation at the museum.

And again all set up.

Installing Antonio's work

Antonio's work all done.

One of the other artists work.

The opening was a great success, people seemed very moved by the film of the tiger. A.N.D. Shan came down to represent too. Good girl! Ryan and Candice were there too and 24 Herbs Eddie.

As for the titles:

  1. Is an Armenian guy that killed a war criminal and was then aquited of the crime

  2. Is an Greek adventure story, the other title is a word invented by Aristotle to describe a flaw or error.

  3. Is  a reference to Robin Hood who robbed the rich an gave to the poor.

  4. Is a reference to the worst disaster at a circus where 139 died in a fire.

The whole installation is for Antonio Mak, he used tigers in his work, but is consistent with my continuing overall concept that relates to the idea of spectacle. There is also a few themes running beneath this that relate to science fiction, science fact, fun fairs and circus.

See you at the shows....

over 11 years ago 0 likes  18 comments  0 shares
Photo 214991
Wow you have been busy!!! Congratulations on putting together so much in such a short time! Sorry I couldn't make it :( catcha around ;) Great stuff dude!!!
over 11 years ago
Photo 86499
Congrats! The efforts you've put in all those work is definitely worth all the late nights. Will have to check out the exhibitions at times where there'll be less ppl, it might sound cheesy but what i've seen here is very inspiring. see ya soon!
over 11 years ago
Photo 320047
COOl...i must to see and surport u!!hehe Congratulations !!!!!!!!!! little fans @cheapman
over 11 years ago
Ghoststyle
that's dope man-respect!
over 11 years ago
Yummy
I hope you remembered to get me one... ha!
over 11 years ago
Yummy
"I threw up a big messy drawing." Taken out of context, it sounds like you ATE something that didn't agree with you...;)
over 11 years ago
Ryanhui 26 ryanhui
Great work at the Museum of art and at LV! It was good seeing you there man. Take care.
over 11 years ago
Photo 1967
Gosh the museum's stingy! And technically, you did this all for free now.
over 11 years ago
Jayson 93 2
Love the idea of handing out the cash!
over 11 years ago
45862083 0af2fd4d5d
great blog man!
over 11 years ago
Photo 66999
im short of cash right now man,..can i have a tiger?,.
over 11 years ago
Mariejost 26 dsc00460
Keeping it real, no matter the cost (here approximately $30,000 HK). A subtext to everything I've witnessed you doing (indirectly via blogs) since I found AnD last year) is authenticity and integrity. Standing at the abyss, looking down inside of it and not being at all sure you'd make it across and to the other side--it sure helps a person order their priorities and identify what matters. What a shame that the government funded art establishment is not more help to working artists in HK. I still think it is funny that you were treated better by Louis Vuitton, that bastion of snobbishly exclusionary luxury goods (and by extension the attendant elitist lifestyle) than by the art museum. But then again, this is HK and commerce really does rule.
over 11 years ago
Photo 23833
Yay! Congrats on your exhibition, LV Loves you! it was great seeing your work and getting one of the origami tigers, I have it on my desk now, might just worth a lot more in a few years ;p btw remember Shann i intro you to at the exhibition, check out her work here: http://www.alivenotdead.com/shannlarsson think you might find it interesting too! see you soon~! ;D
over 11 years ago
Rottendoubt a4 patrick
great stuff and i'm so glad you are alright.
over 11 years ago
Rosanne
Way to Go Simon ~!!!!! God Bless. xxxRozy
over 11 years ago
Phatchan
i love the video concept! Awesome job Simon!
over 11 years ago
Photo 42583
keep doing what you do...SUPPORT!
over 11 years ago
Default avatar
Just saw the Antonio Mak exhibition at the museum. It was quite amazing, particularly his and your works. I absolutely loved the paintings (though one pictured on this blog is no longer displayed). The most surprising thing to me, a first time visitor in Hong Kong, was that it was far and away the best exhibit. If the museum just showed those few rooms I would still have been glad to visit. In fact, it might have been better if they did only have the Mak area. Good luck with your work, I hope your work makes its way to New York sometime soon.
over 11 years ago

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Languages Spoken
english
Location (City, Country)
Hong Kong
Gender
male
Member Since
September 27, 2007

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