Bringing art and music worlds together is Samson Young

'Nocturne', performance still, 2018. Image courtesy: Hamburger Bahnhof and the artist. Photo: Miro Kuzmanovic

Recent winner of the inaugural Sigg Prize from M+ in Hong Kong, Samson Young is an artist and composer who brings the worlds of art and music together. The Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) is thrilled to present a significant body of Young’s work in Australia for the first time.

Samson Young: Real Music is a provocation—Young challenges us to look, but equally to listen and imagine. MUMA is pleased to welcome visitors back to the museum with Samson’s exhibition opening on Tuesday 7 July. In line with the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s guidance, MUMA has implemented a variety of public health and physical distancing measures to keep our staff and visitors safe, and encourage you to visit our website and follow #MUMAtoday for more information.

Jointly curated and presented by Charlotte Day, Director of MUMA and Tessa Giblin, Director of Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh, this exhibition brings together a number of ambitious new commissions by Young alongside his renowned Muted Situation #22: Tchaikovsky’s 5th.

Samson Young is based in Hong Kong, and recognised internationally as an artist and composer who pushes disciplinary, material, cultural and musical boundaries. In his works, histories and traditions meet in richly associative performances, videos, installations, sculptures and drawings generated from the artist’s research, fieldwork and speculation around recurring themes of colonisation and its legacies and conflicts.

Installation view of Muted Situation #22: Muted Tchaikovsky's 5th in 21st Biennale of Sydney at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2018. Image courtesy of the artist, Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne; and Team Gallery, New York. Photo: Silversalt Photography.

Working across so many platforms, Young is hard to pin down as an artist. However, fluidity is at the core of his practice and politics, which challenge ingrained Western and Eastern viewpoints and histories.

Real Music features an ambitious collaboration with Edinburgh University’s Next Generation Sound Synthesis (NESS) research group, which has developed pioneering software to enable us to hear the sounds of obsolete, historical instruments. For Young, it was an opportunity to hear the impossible.

The artist’s new immersive installation Possible Music #2, 2019, commissioned for the exhibition, pushes the parameters of the NESS technology by asking questions such as: how would a bugle sound if it was activated by the fiery breath of a dragon, super-heated to 300 degrees celsius?

In addition, Young has composed music for instruments that cannot exist in reality, creating a magnificent sixteen-channel sound ‘garden’ with sculptural forms alluding to a colossal, oversized trumpet.

'The world falls apart into facts', production still. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Lily Chan
'The world falls apart into facts', production still. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Lily Chan

Real Music also includes a new body of graphic scores on paper—Young’s transcriptions of sounds heard in the streets of Hong Kong during the 2019 protests.

In compliment to Young’s new artworks, the exhibition will also feature Muted Situation #22: Muted Tchaikovsky’s 5th, 2018 (commissioned by the 2018 Sydney Biennale)—a twelve-channel sound installation in which an orchestra performs the work on muted instruments, replacing Tchaikovsky’s music with the sound of the musicians’ physical exertion.

See the work of an artist who dares to merge the worlds of art and music together Samson Young: Real Music at the Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) for free this year!


Dates: Tuesday 7 July - 14 November 2020

Location: Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), Ground Floor, Building F, Monash University, Caulfield Campus, 900 Dandenong Road, Caulfield East

Gallery Hours: Tues - Fri: 10am - 5pm, Sat: 12 - 5pm

Cost: Free

MUMA Website