Simon Birch, ringmaster of Hope and Glory

simon birch artist hong kong painter hope and glory


Simon Birch, an artist we have covered extensively on Hong Kong Hustle, is launching an ambitious new exhibition titled Hope and Glory on Thursday, April 8th.

The show will be spread out over 20,000 sq. feet – an enormous size in this land-scarce, densely packed city. (Some of you may already be familiar with the ArtisTree space as it was the site of last year’s excellent Vivienne Westwood retrospective.)

This show is billed as a “conceptual circus” and seeks to immerse the attendees in a multimedia experience. Although known primarily as a painter, Simon has experimented with additional art forms including sculpture, film, and even performance art.

What does he have in store this time?

The artist has grown increasingly more adventurous as his art takes on new forms. In fact, one of his projects even included renting a tiger!

His new exhibition includes a range of big-name creative collaborators who have put together a series of side-shows for the circus. They include: Valerie Doran, Paul Kember, anothermountainman, James Lavelle and UNKLE, Gary Gunn, LucyandBart, Florian Ma, Alvina Lee, Dr. Robert Peckham, Prodip, Bamboo Star, Laura Thomas, Clive Kirsten, Douglas Young, Cang Xin, Wing Shya, Eric Hu, Eddie Chung, and Jan Lam.

Simon’s last large exhibition at the Chancery Lane annex in Chai Wan was already running low on space. It’s exciting to think what he will conjure this time around given the additional landscape.

You can read previous stories on Simon Birch here, here, here and here.


Simon Birch: Hope and Glory
Opens April 8th, and continues until May 30th, 2010
1/F, Cornwall House, Taikoo Place, Island East
Quarry Bay, Hong Kong
Open daily from 10am to 8pm.

By MTR, get off at the Quarry Bay stop and take Exit A.



  • Miss J,

    I’ve decided to delete both of your comments on the exhibition. While we regularly post negative comments, yours seemed particularly mean spirited and condescending. From what you wrote it appears that you just don’t get several major points, which throws into question the validity of the rest of your comment.

    It’s a tough decision deciding when to not publish a comment, but in this case, I can’t justify giving you a podium.

  • Hi Administrator, I don’t think it’s mean spirited or condescending at all. Since this is your site, I respect your decision to remove the comments. However you just ignored the main purpose of art which is to question, provoke or open a platform for debate. I get several major points and one of them is that you are a fan of Simon’s work and you can’t stand that he is getting bad reviews. Me too. But this is not a comment on Simon Birch the person but a comment on his work.

  • You claim what you wrote wasn’t condescending or mean-spirited at all?

    Here are some choice quotes from your first comment:

    “Well okay the real verdict of the show.  I hate it. It’s like a Turbine Hall of disaster and the V and A Museum’s homage to the reject costumes of Lady Gaga. This is a show of bravado of childlike proportions. The skate board thing?  Come on, if he wants to be taken seriously, leave your childhood alone with your shrink. Obviously this show is catered for students who are impressionable enough to buy this hot mess of a circus.”

    Don’t you think it’s a little presumptuous to call your opinion “the real verdict of the show“? The post you were commenting on wasn’t a review, it was a simple paragraph or two to provide information about the show.

    You didn’t even understand that the exhibition included ‘sideshows’ with work that wasn’t Simon’s! Even after explaining this to you in my reply, you still didn’t get it, and thought that Simon had the people do the work for him, in his name. You also didn’t comprehend the information I shared with you about skate culture’s history with the arts. Here’s what you said in your reply to me:

    “Yes I understand your idea on the skate culture.  It’s similar to skiing I suppose. But we leave the skiing on the piste when it’s winter and when there is snow.  What I’m trying to say is that this show is all about ego. Like a child who needs validation from his parents.  But in his case, everyone has grown up now except him (or his work).”

    It’s pretty clear from your first rambling comment that you think very highly of yourself, but after you failed to understand the relevant information in my reply, you just came across as ignorant and totally out of touch. At that point, you invalidated your first comment entirely. I don’t have the time to go back and forth with someone who doesn’t want a discussion, but just wants a pulpit to spew their incorrect, self-important view. Maybe it’s not Simon with the ego problem, but you.

  • I’m going to Hong Kong in 2 weeks and after reading this post, I can’t wait to see this exhibition. The live tiger is definitely something that attracted me immensely. I would also like to take this chance to thank Admin for these posts and this blog in general. It is a perfect companion guide for someone who wants the best out of HK in a short amount of time, especially when you include the address, time, place and possible fee. Thank you so much!!

  • Hi Lis,

    Just to be accurate, Simon rented the tiger for an earlier work, not for this most recent exhibition.

    Thanks for your feedback and we hope you enjoy your stay in Hong Kong! 😉

  • Just wanted to say thanks for posting some portions of Miss J’s former post. I think it revitalizes this site as a place for talking about this kind of thing. Bravo – Admin.

    To add a bit to the dialogue – I think you bring up a great point. “You didn’t even understand that the exhibition included ’sideshows’ with work that wasn’t Simon’s! Even after explaining this to you in my reply, you still didn’t get it, and thought that Simon had the people do the work for him, in his name.”

    I think this was one of the biggest problems with the set up. Though he DID present the work of others, these works were not properly presented as the work of others. Improper labeling and poor representation in the press seemed to completely diminish their contributions.

  • Visiting the exhibition for the second time, (the first time was at the opening party when it was too crowded to actually take in the work,) I can’t agree with you. Although the individual works weren’t obviously labeled, the minute you walk in, they hand you a book which lists the side-shows, and has a section on the contributors.

    Furthermore, even in Hong Kong Hustle’s short post announcing the exhibition we mentioned the collaborators prominently.

    Also, stop and think about it, if the contributors were highlighted more, the exhibition would become a group show, rather than side-shows in a whole.

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