Currently works and lives in Hong Kong
Simon Birch is a British-born artist living and working in Hong Kong who is renowned for the kinetic, cinematic quality of his paintings which have been exhibited in solo shows in Beijing, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Miami and Singapore, and in group shows at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Haunch of Venison, London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. Birch’s work has been featured and reviewed in many international publications, including The Guardian, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, ArtForum, DAZED and VICE.
In recent years he has become renowned as the conceptual and creative force behind visionary, large-scale projects involving collaborative work with filmmakers, musicians, performers, designers, architects and makers to deliver ambitious site-specific projects in specifically configured spaces. Major projects to date include the celebrated Hope & Glory: A Conceptual Circus (Hong Kong and Beijing, 2010), Daydreaming With… The Hong Kong Edition (Hong Kong, 2012). and The 14th Factory (Los Angeles 2017).
Birch’s combination of unstoppable ambition, a collaborative impulse and a DIY ethic, inspired by the post-punk heroes of his youth, found its most potent expression in The 14th Factory, which became an artworld phenomenon as 100,000 people were attracted by word of mouth and the power of social media to discover its first outpost in a disused factory in East LA in 2016. Work from the 14th Factory has been bought by private collectors, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and loaned to The Smithsonian Institute. Starting in Spring 2020, this monumental, socially-engaged, roaming art project, which can be relocated and reconfigured in response to each new location, is set to go global.
This ambition and breadth of output realised via many collaborations, has bought him close relationships with artists around the globe who stay loyal, not only to Simon, but to the vision of these ever-expanding experiences. The sense of shared endeavour that permeates his work extends to the cultural organisations, charities and local communities his projects embrace as well as brands and figures from the worlds of science, politics and business who collectively make each project possible.
While his grand scale projects stand as a powerful critique of the contemporary condition - offering artists and audiences the opportunity to reflect on the implications of a constantly shifting, virtually entangled, globally interconnected world, the shape of the The 14th Factory - both global and local, monumental yet deeply human - is very much of our time. Not just a spectacle for the audience but a cross-pollination incubator which, perhaps, only Birch could propose.
With a unorthodox personal history, from working class beginnings, with none of the usual advantages one might expect of a creative of his success and ability, with the added authenticity and empathy resulting from radical direct experience, not least of which the remarkable survival of aggressive cancer, talented, resourceful, doggedly determined and business minded, Simon Birch is an artist for our age, whose visionary projects imagine a different kind of factory and a different kind of production, where histories are made now and into the future.