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Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief World Tour arrives at the M+ Pavilion, following the widely acclaimed Hong Kong participation in the 57th Venice

Co-presented by M+ and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, the Songs for Disaster Relief exhibition returns to Hong Kong with newly commissioned works.

9 February–6 May 2018

(8 February 2018, Hong Kong) M+, at the West Kowloon Cultural District, and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) are pleased to announce Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief World Tour, an expanded adaptation of Hong Kong’s highly successful participation in the 57th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale, entitled Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief. The exhibition in Venice drew more than 130,000 visitors during its six-month-long run and received enthusiastic acclaims from the international press and from the public. This first exhibition of 2018 at the M+ Pavilion—and the pavilion’s sixth overall—will be open to the public from 9 February through 6 May

Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief is the third collaboration between M+ and the HKADC over Hong Kong’s participation at the Venice Biennale, following the solo presentations of Lee Kit and Tsang Kin-Wah, held in 2013 and 2015, respectively. With Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief World Tour, M+, with support from the HKADC, is ensuring that Hong Kong audiences have the opportunity to see the internationally celebrated presentation at the Venice Biennale in a new, locally adapted exhibition, as was in the two previous Hong Kong participations.

Suhanya Raffel, Executive Director of M+, describes the exhibitions in Venice and Hong Kong as a confirmation of the growing international presence of M+ and the HKADC, and of the two organisations’ unflagging commitment to Hong Kong art. She asserts, ‘By continuing to collaborate on Hong Kong’s participation in the Venice Biennale—the most important forum for contemporary art in the world—M+ and the HKADC have made crucial contributions to Hong Kong artists gaining a greater global resonance, while also raising the standard for the this quickly growing and maturing community.’

Winsome Chow, Chief Executive of the HKADC, notes, ‘In Venice, Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief received wide critical acclaim along with public appreciation. Since 2001, when the HKADC first participated in the Venice Biennale, Hong Kong artists have become increasingly recognised on the world stage. We are glad to share this international success with Hong Kong audiences.’

Doryun Chong, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of M+, is Consulting Curator of the exhibition. He emphasises the evolving nature of the collaboration between M+ and the HKADC: ‘Building on the successes of the past two editions co-organised by M+ and the HKADC, we made sure that we continue to find new ways of contributing to the growth of the contemporary art community in Hong Kong. For this edition, we invited a guest curator for the first time to organise the Venice as well as the Hong Kong exhibitions, and I am extremely proud that the selected curator, Ying Kwok’s participation has both enriched the project and deepened our engagement with the local art community.’

Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief World Tour explores the popularity of charity singles—songs recorded for specific charitable causes. Following a great success in Venice, the exhibition comes to Hong Kong on a ‘world tour’ that brings together the works presented in Venice as well as a newly commissioned piece. Ying Kwok, Guest Curator, explains, ‘In 2014, Bob Geldof and a large group of artists attempted a remake of the classic 1980s single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to support the West African nations in their fight against Ebola. Samson Young felt that the remake was obsolete and out of time, and this reaction set him on a journey to explore issues that arose through the recording of charity songs.’ The result was Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief and now this ‘world tour’, which comprises, in Kwok’s words, ‘objects, performances, and sound installations that together constitute a distinct audiovisual experience, a body of work that prompts reflection, reimagining, and rethinking of our past and our current ways of life.’

Works presented in the exhibition include Palazzo Gundane (homage to the myth-maker who fell to earth), a video and sound installation that stages the story of a fictional South African musician who wrote a song in response to ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’; We Are the World, as performed by the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions Choir, a muted performance of Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie’s iconic charity single; Lullaby (World Music), a video that refers to Hong Kong televised charity programmes; Risers, an installation of a sculptural stage and a neon light that reads, ‘The world is yours, but also ours, but basically yours’; and a new work entitled Carillon, a self-playing piano that echoes this muted choral performance;

To accompany the exhibition, M+ is launching M+ Essential Editions, a series of artist collaborations and pop-ups that takes a fresh look at consumer culture. This first edition by Samson Young is a pop-up store that takes the form of a fictional musician’s dressing room on the ground floor of the M+ Pavilion. The items for sale are part of the stories told by Samson Young in the exhibition.

Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief World Tour is curated by Ying Kwok, Guest Curator, with Sonia So, Assistant Curator, Special Project, and Doryun Chong, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of M+ acting as Consulting Curator.

A series of free programmes accompanies the exhibition. For details and to register for these performances, talks, and tours, please click here.