Hong Kong Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale

May 13th – November 26th 2017
Venice, Italy

Samson Young is a multidisciplinary artist with a background in classical music and composition. His works range from drawings, videos and mixed media installations, to multimedia walks and performances. For the 57th Venice Biennale, Young has created a new body of work that attempts to reframe the popularization of ‘charity singles’ – purpose-made recordings for charitable causes, featuring a super-group of artists – as a historic ‘event’ and a culturally transformative moment. Charity singles were most widespread in the 1980s, and coincided with the rise of neoliberalism and the global popular music industry. In 2014, Bob Geldof and a new group of artists attempted a remake of the iconic Do They Know It’s Christmas to support West African nations in their fight against Ebola. A perceived ‘out-of-timeness’ of the contemporary remake left a mark on Young’s consciousness, setting him on a course of research that informed this exhibition.

Through a deliberate repurposing and creative misreading of such iconic titles as We Are the Worldand Do They Know It's Christmas, the artist generates a series of objects, works on paper, and multi-room sound and video installations that together constitute a unique audio-visual experience. The exhibition is conceived of as an album unfolding in space to be experienced in person. In here, the logic of conventional charity songs are blurred or left behind, the coded conventions are upturned or abandoned. The artist is not presenting us with merely a critique of cultural artefacts. Rather, he is simultaneously exploring the troubling ideologies as well as the genuine affective qualities that these songs and their aspirations embodied, thus bringing together many political vantage points in a cross-cultural context.




« A Dark Theme Keeps Me Here. I'll Make a Broken Music. Samson Young