Hope & Glory --- A Conceptual Circus
Hong Kong artist Simon Birch has created Hope and Glory, perhaps the most ambitious multi-media art project ever undertaken in Hong Kong.
The unprecedented scale of the show, which will fill the 20,000sq ft ArtisTree exhibition space in Taikoo Shing, will challenge established paradigms in art presentation and construction to bring its audience on a fascinating and immersive adventure through a metaphorical world - a conceptual circus - created by the artist.
A series of interlinked multi-media installations will transform the vast space into a mythological labyrinth, where cultural and personal histories merge, provoking the audience to consider their own relationship with the past, the present and the future.
Just as the archetypal circus brought together spectacular “sideshows” from all over the world to create an multi-sensory allegory of foreign adventure, in Hope and Glory Birch has brought together artists, designers, musicians, filmmakers, photographers, actors, gaming wizards, and architects from Hong Kong and abroad in an unprecedented collaboration - each contributing their own particular vision to Hope and Glory’s conceptual world of spectacle and wonder.
Birch’s monumental show explores a number of major themes that recur in the artist’s work: the idea of art as a spectacle; the fascination with circuses and fairgrounds, science fiction and mythologies; as well as a preoccupation with traditions of craftsmanship and labour in art production.
Hope and Glory is deeply informed by the structure of the ‘hero myth’ that appears in different guises throughout history and across cultures, from the Odyssey of Ancient Greece to modern science fiction films such as Star Wars and Blade Runner. The narrative that unfolds in Hope and Glory is a retelling - through film, sculpture, music, video, painting, gaming and live performance - of archetypal themes, such as the duality of human existence, the relationship between suffering and redemption, the journey from darkness into light, and the leap from adversity into transcendence. By entering into its all-immersive environment the audience becomes part of this unfolding experience.
The title of the project, ‘Hope and Glory’, is an appropriation of the title of a British patriotic song from the close of the Victorian era, ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, an anthem that hopes for a mightier and more powerful empire. The use of the title here is both ironic and meaningful, referring to the hope and glory that are relative to individual human experience, as well as to the negatives which burden imperial dreams.
One of Birch’s intentions in conceiving this monumental installation is the creation of an all-enveloping artistic space that echoes the function of the circus in traditional culture: offering within the frenetic urban environment a temporary place of other-worldly respite and the experience of a communal sense of wonder.
A series of four innovative Forums exploring topics and questions generated by the Hope and Glory project will be held during the exhibition period.
Simon Birch & collaborators:
Valerie Doran, Daniel Wu, Paul Kember, Stanley Wong, Kacey Wong, James Lavelle and UNKLE, Gary Gunn, Lucy Mcrae, Florian Ma, Alvina Lee, Prodip, Robert Peckham, Prodip, Lisa S, Terence Yin, Tony Magnetic, CB Fresh, Laura Thomas, Clive Kirsten, Douglas Young , Cang Xin, Wing Shya
The Birch Foundation
Swire Properties, Diesel, Louis Vuitton, HKU centre for medical humanities, Xook PR, Shanghai Tang, Zuma Restaurant, ArtHK, Hong Kong Cancer Fund, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, G.O.D., Sovereign Art Foundation.