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Friday, 15 January 2010

In the beginning...

...there was Azhanti High Lightning.
My first large installation was in 2007. I'd done a few installation works before and was already established as a full time artist in Hong Kong but was known as a painter.
After an exhibition of paintings in Singapore a couple of years earlier I'd met a couple of people and made friends with an amazing curator who looked after a space called the Nanayang Academy of Fine Arts.
This was a 500sq m gallery for non-commercial use.
So off I went and built Azhanti High Lightning. A 7 room multiple media installation built from scratch.
It represented a journey from life to death and each room, in the large plywood structure, discussed those stages we all go through; birth, education, love, fighting for one's cause, etc.
The space was dark and intimidating and was extremely challenging to build with little budget or resources but it was a wonderful adventure.
I always wanted to rebuild it or update it somewhere else in the world but no opportunity came from that show. I'm not sure that many people even saw it.
I produced a show the following year that had a couple of elements from the show but nowhere near on the same scale but there wasn't any venue locally that I could've reproduced it in and certainly no financial support for it. At the same time, just 6 months after the Singapore show, I got terribly sick and was out of action for over a year.
Fast forward to the end of 2008 and a big property in HK opened a retrospective of Vivenne Westwood, in association with the Victoria and Albert museum, in an enormous space called Artistree. They had converted an entire floor of one of their sparkling new office blocks turned into a non-commercial cultural venue.
At 2000sqm, it instantly became the biggest art space in Hong Kong.
So, I asked them if I could build a show inside and they said 'yes'.
The show is Hope and Glory, an updated, refined version of the Singapore show. All the work is new and is an extension of some of the ideas in AHL. It's again multiple media, a large scale installation, but deals more with hopes and dreams, wonder and spectacle as well as failure, corruption and darkness.

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