Art Basel and BMW are pleased to announce Samson Young as the first BMW Art Journey winner. The BMW Art Journey will allow Young to embark on a creative journey across five continents. Young will undertake a worldwide tour of iconic bells, documenting them and creating works of visual art and music composition in response to them. Samson Young was one of three shortlisted artists selected from this year’s Discoveries sector at Art Basel’s show in Hong Kong.
Samson Young’s project for the inaugural BMW Art Journey, titled “For Whom the Bell Tolls: A Journey Into the Sonic History of Conflict,” builds on the Hong Kong-based artist’s longstanding fascination with military technology and his training as a composer. In this project, he turns his attention to bells, which bring together these two related areas of interest. Cannons and bells are made of essentially the same materials. In times of war, bells would be melted down to create cannons, and when peace returned, bells would be recast from surplus weapons. For Young’s 2015 BMW Art Journey he will focus on bells that give form to the idea of “conflict” in a variety of ways. His journey will take him to bells and research institutions in Myanmar, Kenya, Austria, Cologne, Morocco, Sicily, South Korea, Australia and several cities in the UK and United States, where the artist will notate and record the sounds of exceptional and historically resonant bells, generating an archive of bell recordings, a series of “bell sound sketches,” a set of new bronze bells, and an original musical composition for bell-ringers and orchestra.
Art Basel and BMW will collaborate with the awarded artist to document the journey and share it with the public through print publications, online and social media. On June 16, the first preview day of Art Basel’s show in Basel, Samson Young will be available for interviews.
The experts conducting the judging were Richard Armstrong, Director Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Claire Hsu, Director Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Matthias Mühling, Director Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich; Shwetal Patel, Curator, India; and Pauline J. Yao, Curator Visual Art M+, Hong Kong.
Next to Samson Young (am space, Hong Kong), the shortlisted artists showing in Discoveries, the sector for emerging artists at Art Basel’s Hong Kong show, were: Mika Tajima with Eleven Rivington, New York, and Trevor Yeung presented by Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong.
Being impressed by the thoughtfully considered and articulated proposals of all three shortlisted artists, the jury has said of their choice: “Samson Young’s proposal stood out for several reasons: its depth and clarity, its multi-layered approach and its ability to bring a simultaneously contemporary and historical dimension to notions of place. His research will thoughtfully interweave multiple contexts addressing major issues to include war, religion, community and the politics of sound. He shifts the focus from seeing to listening and his project will show that also ideologies can have a certain sound. Samson Young has crafted a journey with ambitious scope and strong potential to offer meaningful strides in his development as an artist.”
Samson Young added: “I am, naturally, thrilled to be able to make this journey happen. The BMW Art Journey is a real luxury in that it facilitates the research and the fieldwork – the drifting that drives the work – that is indispensable to the outcome of the creative process.”
The BMW Art Journey is a new global collaboration between Art Basel and BMW, which has been created to recognize and support emerging artists worldwide. The prize is open to artists who are showing in Discoveries and Positions in the Hong Kong and Miami Beach show respectively. Two judging panels, comprised of internationally renowned experts, shortlist three artists, who are then invited to submit proposals for a journey aimed to further develop their ideas and artistic work.
The next judging of the BMW Art Journey will be held during Art Basel in Miami Beach, where three artists from the Positions sector will be shortlisted next December. The winner will be announced in early 2016.
BMW is a global partner of Art Basel and has supported Art Basel’s three shows in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong for many years.
Born in 1979 in Hong Kong, Samson Young studied music, philosophy and gender studies at the University of Sydney and holds a Ph.D. in Music Composition from Princeton. In 2013 Young was named ‘artist of the year’ (media artist) by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. Young participated in the Asia Triennial Manchester, the Moscow Biennale of Young Art, and also at group exhibitions at Kunsthalle Winterthur, Switzerland, Today Art Museum, Beijing and Taipei Contemporary Art Museum, Taiwan. In his Art Basel project ‘Pastoral Music’, presented by am space at Art Basel’s Hong Kong show, Young combined his research into Hong Kong’s involvement in the Second World War and artists’ roles in warfares in general into a setting that includes graphic musical scores and sound compositions.
Art Basel stages the world’s premier art shows for Modern and contemporary works, sited in Basel, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong. Defined by its host city and region, each show is unique, which is reflected in its participating galleries, artworks presented, and the content of parallel programming produced in collaboration with local institutions for each edition. In addition to ambitious stands featuring leading galleries from around the globe, each show’s singular exhibition sectors spotlight the latest developments in the visual arts, offering visitors new ideas and new inspiration.
For more than 40 years now, the BMW Group has initiated and engaged in over 100 cultural cooperations worldwide. The company places the main focus of its long-term commitment on modern and contemporary art, jazz and classical music as well as architecture and design. In 1972, three large-scale paintings were created by the artist Gerhard Richter specifically for the foyer of the BMW Group’s Munich headquarters. Since then, artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Olafur Eliasson, Jeff Koons, Zubin Metha, Daniel Barenboim and Anna Netrebko have co-operated with BMW. The company has also commissioned famous architects such as Karl Schwanzer, Zaha Hadid and Coop Himmelb(l)au to design important corporate buildings and plants. In 2011, the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a global initiative of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the Guggenheim Museum and the BMW Group celebrated its world premiere in New York. The BMW Group takes absolute creative freedom in all the cultural activities it is involved in for granted – as this is just as essential for groundbreaking artistic work as it is for major innovations in a successful business.