Samson Young: Ricochet

Representing Hong Kong in Venice, the artist’s fusion of sound art and performance reveal a subtle politics

By Mark Rappolt

Michael Schiefel recording his performance for ‘When I have fears that I may cease to be, what would you give in exchange for your soul’, 2016 soundwalk. Image: courtesy the artist and Frieze, London Still from documentation of 'We Are the World' as performed by the Hong Kong Federations of Trade Unions Choir, 2017. Photo: Dennis Man Wing Leung. Courtesy the artist 'A dark theme keeps me here, I’ll make a broken music', 2016–17 (installation view, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf). Image: Simon Vogel. Courtesy Gallerie Giesla Capitain and Düsseldorf Kunsthalle

Like much of the best contemporary art, that produced by Samson Young exists at the moment when concept and reality touch, only to then recoil and ricochet their separate ways. Perhaps the most literal demonstration of this can be found in his live performance work Nocturne (2015), shown that year at Team Gallery, New York. For much of the almost two months of his solo exhibition (titled Pastoral Music) the artist would sit in the middle of the gallery space…

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