Sunday, June 03, 2007

"Azhanti High Lightning" Opening

This guy...... Simon Birch, his work touches my heart.
Have you ever had a feeling that, when you look into someone's work, you find your own feeling in it?
It sounds ridiculous, but is actually the truth.
A billion words.

Simon Birch, thank you!

“Azhanti High Lightning”
A show to be presented at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), in support of the Singapore Arts Festival 2007
1 June - 5 July 2007
NAFA Gallery (Galleries 1 & 2)

Artist Simon Birch has created “Azhanti High Lightning”, one of the most ambitious multiple media projects ever undertaken at NAFA Gallery. The Gallery will be reconstructed into a dramatic, innovative and immersive piece of art for this show that will run from 1 June to 5 July 2007. This will also be Simon’s first institutional show as artist and curator. Leading Hong Kong photographer Wing Shya will also contribute additional work. NAFA is pleased to be presenting the event as part of the visual arts programme at the Singapore Arts Festival (SAF) 2007, in support of a call by the National Arts Council for cross promotion and collaboration from the various arts/education institutions within the civic district.

The NAFA Gallery will be converted into seven parts representing the seven stages of life from birth until death. The viewer will be led through blackened rooms representing a journey that interplays visual and auditory installations including sculpture, live performance, a 360 degree film theatre, paintings and photography.

The title of the show, “Azhanti High Lightning,” is the name of a fictional space craft. It is intended to represent the space we inhabit, where we exist as a product of chance and circumstance, or perhaps as a product of design; where the only thing that is certain is an end. (Please refer to Annex 2 for more details)

Bridget Tracy Tan, Director of Art & Corporate Knowledge said, "So much has been emphasised about the divide between art and technology, as though the two were mutually exclusive, in as much as 'tradition' and 'innovation' appear unable to successfully mix and bring about substantive progress in art-making today. The contemporary age is not just media specific, as contemporary historians and critics may offer. Azhanti High Lightning as a multiple media installation that assimilates art-objects from paintings and the sculptural to photography, film and video, reinforces to us the compound nature of our aesthetic sensibility.”

She added, “We receive and appreciate art in so many different ways, all of which inform and enrich each other considerably. When an ambitious project of such a scale comes to us full pelt in all directions, we are forced to reckon with our instincts: our fears, our passions, our reactive emotions, our flight or fight. An aesthetic intervention is precisely that, something that enters our space (as we enter theirs) and brings us to an altered state of being extraordinarily alive. All art should aspire to have this energy, this spirit."

Simon Birch explains, “It’s a great opportunity to curate at a space such as this. To be able to execute the freedom of my imagination in such an impressive gallery is very exciting. The theme for the show is about sudden and unexpected change, change that has a lasting affect on the individual or an entire culture. It is about evolution and inevitability. I believe the theme also has much resonance in contemporary Asian society and universally in the life of the individual.”

The exhibition will consist of seven distinct areas housed within the main 50-meter long gallery at NAFA (combining both galleries 1 & 2). To achieve this, the artist has fabricated what can be described as a film set. Within the gallery space is a series of interlocking rooms ranging in size from a few meters square to the largest being 81-meters square and 4.2-meters tall, and displays ranging from sculpture, live performance, a 360 degree film theatre, paintings and photography. Please refer to Annex 3 for images (high-resolution file for these images are available upon request).

The exhibition is presented in collaboration with NEC, Helutrans Artmove, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery and DHL Express. NEC is sponsoring the use of its projectors to put on view the visual dynamics intrinsic to the fast paced, ultra sensitive concept of the works, while Helutrans Artmove is sponsoring the local handling and freight movement.

DHL Express, as the official logistics provider for the Azhanti High Lighting Exhibition, has made it possible for visitors to be greeted by a sculpture of the head of Galactacus. An introduction to the exhibition, the head sets the scene for the whole exhibition, representing the first figure to enter earth’s atmosphere. DHL strongly believes that such platforms play an important part in remaking Singapore into a more culturally-vibrant city, and support will continue to grow for such aspirations and innovative collaborations with the aim of bringing more talents closer to our community.

10 Chancery Lane Gallery is a supporting organisation in this project through funding and administration in Hong Kong, and represents the artists Simon Birch and Wing Shya. 10 Chancery Lane Gallery is a driving force in contemporary culture in Hong Kong and is one of the city’s most popular private galleries. The gallery is international in scope and represents artists from Asia and the West. Its exhibition programme includes a complete spectrum of media - paintings, photography, sculpture, performance, installations and digital production.

The Singapore Arts Festival is one of the leading international arts festivals known for its bold and innovative artistic collaborations at the cutting-edge of contemporary arts with a distinctive Asian flavour. Established as a national celebration for the arts, the Festival offers a myriad showcase of world-class and internationally-acclaimed arts productions, and has a strong trademark for presenting several world and Asian premieres. The Festival turns 30 and sees its 21st edition this year. In the last 30 years, it has played a catalytic and strategic role in developing audiences, professionalising arts practice, spawning new interests and creating spin-offs for the arts.

Everybody in Singapore should go there and have a look.
Everybody not in Singapore...... should also go there and have a look, like me!

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