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Samson Young's Upcoming Solo Exhibition at Kiang Malingue

ByJenevieve Kok
Samson Young's Upcoming Solo Exhibition at Kiang Malingue

Image courtesy of the artist and Kiang Malingue.

Kiang Malingue will be presenting Samson Young's first solo exhibition from 24 September to 5 November at the gallery's Hong Kong space. The exhibition is titled "Music for selective hearing, or assisted living" and will feature five sets of artworks created by the artist in the last two years. Known for exploring the fabric of the sociopolitical by examining the history and contemporary conditions of sound and music, Samsom considers the complicated nature of "sound conditioning" - the active control of ambient sounds exemplified by devices such as white-noise sleep aids - as self-care and recuperation as well as self-imposed isolation, control, and wilful disengagement. 

Installation view. "Samson Young: Close Reading", Ryosoku-in at Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto, 2020. Photo by Nobutada Omote. 

Included in the exhibition is Samson's collaboration with his longtime friend, violist William Lane. The installation "Often easy, sometimes impossible" (2021-2022) consists of a two-channel video, in which Lane performs Samson's original composition that was scored for a triangle, a viola, and a synthesised glass harmonica — three high-pitched musical instruments that were once considered harmful to mental health in late 18th-century Europe due to their "over-stimulating" sonic properties. By revisiting histories in which panic was transformed into panicked--policing and censorship, and by reflecting on the nascent, overwhelming "freedom" to disengage through acoustic, orphic means, Samson problematises the psychiatric rhetoric of "dangerous tunes".

Installation View. "The Highway is like a lion's mounth", Edouard Malingue Gallery, Shanghai, 2019. Image courtesy of Edouard Malingue Gallery and Samson Young. Photo by Lily Chen

Pertaining to the history and personal experience of white noise are "Columns of air" (2022), and "Too-cruel-for-live-performance music: 80000-word-long white noise, in 16 chapters of 5000 words each" (2022). The former is a group of sound sculptures inspired by the original white-noise sleep-aid invented in 1961. The latter is a collection of text-score, consisting of 16 books on noise-as-onomatopoeia. When whispered at a low volume and at a moderate speed, the machine-generated words contained within will take on the quality of "white noise speech". The exhibition also features Samson's recent series of drawings "Unclear terms of engagement (a line, a gesture, an alphabet or number)" (2021 – 2022), which is a continuation of Samson's long-term exploration of the relationship between the visual and the musical.

"The world falls apart into facts" by Samson Young, 2019, production still. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo by Lily Chen.

The "messengers" (2022) highlights his interest in the avian and the language of chirping – a recurring theme in many of his previous works. First exhibited on the grounds of the Takano Shrine, Kyoto in 2022, these video sculptures combine iconic forms of mythical birds and ancient legal texts of Chinese, Japanese, and Egyptian origins, injecting humour and absurdity into legal parlance.

The booklet produced on the occasion of the exhibition will include a short introduction by the artist himself, expounding in an intimate way the significance of sound and music to well-being, and to a problematised idea of control-as-freedom.

Image courtesy of Talbot Rice Gallery, the University of Edinburgh, and Samson Young. Photo by Sally Jubb.

About Samson Young
Multi-disciplinary artist Samson Young works in sound, performance, video, and installation. He graduated with a PhD in Music Composition from Princeton University in 2013. In 2017, he represented Hong Kong at the 57th Venice Biennale. Other solo projects include the De Appel, Amsterdam; Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh; SMART Museum, Chicago; Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art in Manchester; M+ Pavilion, Hong Kong; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Ryosoku-in at Kenninji Temple, Kyoto; and Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, among others. Selected group exhibitions include Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Gropius Bau, Berlin; Performa 19, New York; Biennale of Sydney; Shanghai Biennale; National Museum of Art, Osaka; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Ars Electronica, Linz; and Documenta 14: documenta radio, among others. In 2020, he was awarded the inaugural Uli Sigg Prize.

About Kiang Malingue 
Kiang Malingue is a Hong Kong-based commercial gallery founded by Lorraine Kiang and Edouard Malingue. Formerly known as Edouard Malingue Gallery, this initiative was founded in 2010 to build a critical dialogue between international contemporary artists, both emerging and established, who combine aesthetic concern with conceptual enquiry, and work across different disciplines from video and installation to painting and sound.

Exhibition Dates: 24 September - 5 November 2022 
Address: Kiang Malingue Gallery, 13/F, Blue Box Factory Building, 25 Hing Wo Street, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Opening Times: Tuesday - Saturday, 11am - 7pm

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