The Power of Silence - Art Collector

aVanTGaRde oN sPeEd, installation view, 2015. Courtesy: the artist and TKG+ Projects, Taipei

By Jason Chung Tang Yen

There’s a certain enchanting quality watching musicians perform in almost complete silence. On viewing the installation left by Hong Kong-born artist Samson Young after the performance component of his solo exhibition at TKG+ Projects in Taipei city, there’s a ghostly quality in the atmosphere.

The overall tone of the exhibition,
aVanTGaRde oN sPeEd, is both fascinating and inspiring – and the message is clear. Young’s central ideology for his practice is consistent in his oeuvre, which is open to various interpretations. While reminiscent of the works by artists such as John Cage, Yoko Ono and more recently David Helbich, Young’s approach to his subject matter is precise and focused. The inefficiency of the players with their silent instruments shows an obvious paradox with a potent resonance in its context – a reference to the political situation and cultural history of Hong Kong.

aVanTGaRde oN sPeEd explores the possibilities of sound as a weapon and the complex relationships between connotations of the word avant-garde. According to the curator Jau-lan Guo, the term avant-garde can be understood as both artistic movement and also as “a more archaic military terminology of the avant-garde of the frontline forces.” He continues: “Any effort to purely listen will be defeated here, not because the venue is too noisy, but because the audience will not be given a space to simply listen. Classical music and traditional songs are decidedly silenced by violence, silently initiating the visual spectacle behind performance culture.”

Those who visited Art Basel Hong Kong recently in March may still have fresh memories of Young’s performance at a.m. Space’s booth. The Hong Kong-based artist holds a PhD in music composition from Princeton University and was awarded Artist of the Year in Media Art Category by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council in 2013. Currently active with international exhibitions, Young will present his work The Anatomy of a String Quartet at the Museum of the Moving Image for the New York Electronic Art Festival on June 28th.

Samson Young’s aVanTGaRde oN sPeEd shows at TKG+ Projects Taipei until 26 June.
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