• Moments of Uncertainty

    Date posted: October 6, 2008 Author: jolanta

    I’m a U.K.-born artist of Armenian descent who’s been living in Hong Kong for many years. I came there by accident, and was able to make enough money, working construction, to finance the staging of my own exhibitions of figurative oil paintings. Within a few years I was selling well enough to quit the day job and signed with a great contemporary gallery, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, which I’m still with today. Though the bulk of my work is still figurative, large oil paintings, over the last few years I’ve ventured into film and installation work culminating in two particularly notable large-scale projects. 

    Image

    Simon Birch

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    Simon Birch, Painting at the Brink of Death 3, 2008. Oil on canvas, 152 x 152 cm. Courtesy of 10 Chancery Lane Gallery.

    I’m a U.K.-born artist of Armenian descent who’s been living in Hong Kong for many years. I came there by accident, and was able to make enough money, working construction, to finance the staging of my own exhibitions of figurative oil paintings. Within a few years I was selling well enough to quit the day job and signed with a great contemporary gallery, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, which I’m still with today.

    Though the bulk of my work is still figurative, large oil paintings, over the last few years I’ve ventured into film and installation work culminating in two particularly notable large-scale projects. They are 2007’s Azhanti High Lightning at Singapore’s Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, an installation in seven parts squeezed into a 50-meter long gallery, and This Brutal House in April of 2008 at 10 Chancery Lane’s new project space in Hong Kong, a show spread over three large galleries and divided into many parts. These large multiple media projects included film, paintings, installation, sculpture, and performance housed in many different spaces.

    I’m interested in ideas of transition, the ambiguous moment between an initiation and a conclusion. I choose to represent this in an environment of theater and spectacle. I want the environment where my works are housed to envelop the viewer, so the process of viewing becomes experiential. Painting is the foundation of the multiple media works. I find the labor and energy involved in the oil and pigment informs those other visual processes. It’s exciting for me to live in a time where all these mediums are so accessible and possible, with my imagination only limited by money and space.

    I try to give the viewer the experience that I would want from an exhibition: overwhelming and complex, a spectacle, an adventure and a visual aesthetic. I work obsessively in my Hong Kong studio spending half my time painting and the other half, planning and scheming, designing and coordinating production, or hunched over my Mac editing film. I’m currently preparing work for a number of upcoming art fairs, including the Melbourne Art Fair, Shanghai Art fair, and the Armory show in New York City, as well as producing a large installation for the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and planning my next solo show, which will be another multiple medium spectacle.

    Further to this I’m finishing an autobiography/documentation in collaboration with a couple of Chinese photographers, which focuses on my survival of cancer this year, a condition from which I was not expected to live beyond a few months, which I’ve now gratefully overcome.

     

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