M+ and Art Basel co-commission The Shape of Light by Ellen Pau
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May 20–June 19, 2022
Live performance: May 27, 5–8pm, Ellen Pau in collaboration with Shane Aspegren, Amy Chan, Elysa Wendi, and Quinn Wong
Artist talk and screening: May 28, 2–3:30pm, Ellen Pau in dialogue with Ulanda Blair
Grand Stair, M+
Online screening : May 29–June 1, a collection of Ellen Pau’s pioneering videos made between 1988 and 2015
M+, Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, is delighted to announce a brand-new moving image work by pioneering Hong Kong artist Ellen Pau, co-commissioned with Art Basel. The work, titled The Shape of Light, will be shown on the M+ Facade from Friday, May 20, 2022 until Sunday, June 19, 2022 from 7–9pm daily. The project marks the first major collaborative commission for the M+ Facade since M+’s opening in November 2021.
Supported by UBS, Lead Partner of Art Basel, The Shape of Light is a site-specific moving image work made specially for the M+ Facade. Using digitally animated special effects, the video explores the possibilities of the immaterial and the material, transforming light into digital objects. Featuring a popular sutra in Mahayana Buddhism, The Heart Sutra, here expressed through sign language, the ritualistic video meditates on the concept “form is emptiness, emptiness is form.” Natural phenomena like fire, water, and light are all rendered in awe-inspiring computer-generated animation.
Pau’s work intertwines live-action performance and spectacular sci-fi sequences, delivering a one-of-a-kind experience for the Hong Kong audiences on the M+ Facade. In Pau’s words, the M+ Facade is a futuristic lighthouse “standing on the shores of West Kowloon like a guardian that shines a light to all travellers and homecomers.” The video is offered as a gesture of guidance and hope for audiences in Hong Kong, where “illumination from the M+ offices interlaces with an electronic glow from the video wall. Clusters of cells and pixels merge with the building’s architecture, forming a new cultural observatory to the place artists call home.”
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Pau is a leading figure of the city’s media art scene whose works have been exhibited locally and internationally since the 1980s. Pau is known for exploring the intersection of visual-art languages with the latest technologies. She takes inspiration from new media to examine ever-evolving notions of self and the changing times in which we live.
M+ and Art Basel will present a series of public programmes, including a live durational performance, an artist talk, and an online screening following the debut of The Shape of Light
Complementing the display of The Shape of Light on M+ Facade, M+ and Art Basel will also present a series of free online and offline events, making the artwork more accessible to the public.
The Shape of Light live performance by Ellen Pau, in collaboration with sound artist Shane Aspegren, lighting designer Amy Chan, dramaturge Elysa Wendi, and producer and live-coder Quinn Wong, will offer a space of healing, using sound, light, and digital objects. The performance will run from 5–8pm on Friday, May 27, 2022 at The Forum, M+. Tickets can be booked through the M+ website. The performance will also be livestreamed online, and to the Grand Stair, M+.
Ellen Pau will be in dialogue with Ulanda Blair about her new work, The Shape of Light at a talk and screening. Attendees will here have the rare opportunity to experience some of Pau’s past works made between 1988 and 2015. The event will take place from 2 to 3:30pm on Saturday, 28 May 2022 at the Grand Stair, M+. Tickets can be booked through the M+ website.
A four-day online screening from Sunday, May 29 to Wednesday, June 1, 2022 will enable local and international audiences to view a collection of Ellen Pau’s pioneering videos made between 1988 and 2015. Each video will include an audio commentary by Pau, describing the ideas and inspiration behind her work. The screening will be hosted on Eventive, and tickets can be booked through the M+ website.
For the latest information on the programmes, please visit mplus.org.hk.
M+, West Kowloon Cultural District
Tsim Sha Tsui