Artistic impressions

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 March, 2012, 12:00am


You've got to hand it to painter Simon Birch. Some might call it recklessness - the last large-scale exhibition he organised at the ArtisTree, 'Hope & Glory', in 2010 won critical acclaim but also landed him HK$700,000 in the red. Still, who can fault a man who has so much determination and passion for the arts? Now, the award-winning artist is back for more (art, not trouble).

In May, Birch and British DJ James Lavelle will be bringing to the same space in Taikoo Place works by 30 local and overseas contemporary artists for a show called 'Daydreaming with...'

Headlining artists include 3D (from the band Massive Attack), Polly Borland, graffiti artist Futura, filmmaker Doug Forster as well as Beijing's Li Wei and Daniel Wu. The group exhibition promises to be a hybrid affair that marries edgy art with music. The show is an extension of Lavelle's collaboration with London gallery Haunch of Venison two years ago.

The idea is to have participating artists respond to a musical reference - be that a song or a lyric. The end result could be a painting, an installation or any other forms of artistic expression, says Lavelle, who founded electronica outfit UNKLE and has collaborated with musicians including Richard Ashcroft, Thom Yorke and Ian Brown.

While the exhibition doesn't have a theme, 'there is a certain aesthetic ... the reason all the artists have come together, there tends to be an emotional connection', Lavelle says.

'Most of the artists can be quite melancholic, not that it's about something being very dark. It's just there's a certain kind of emotion that people tend to push things in a certain way. When I did the show in London, there really was this great connection ... with the way artists thought about the world and their art.'

Birch says the exhibition will feature very dynamic content and the event will be about people sharing their visual communication, cultural reference and philosophy as artists.

His experience with 'Hope & Glory' stands him in good stead curating the upcoming show, he says. 'We wouldn't go ahead with this project if we hadn't secured funding, good financial control and good project management,' Birch says. 'With 'Hope & Glory', nothing would stop me, I didn't care, I just wanted to make the project happen. With this one, we're being a little bit more careful.'

'Daydreaming with ...' is a non-profit exhibition. 'We do it for love, ultimately. Someone has got to do something in this town, right?' he says.