The Shape of Light, co-commissioned by M+ and Art Basel premieres in Hong Kong

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The Shape of Light, co-commissioned by M+ and Art Basel premieres in Hong Kong
Screening of The Shape of Light on the M+Facade, 2022. Courtesy of Ellen Pau and M+, Hong Kong. Photo: Lok Cheng M+, Hong Kong.

HONG KONG.- M+, Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District, debuts The Shape of Light, a moving image work by pioneering Hong Kong artist Ellen Pau, on the M+ Facade on Friday, 20 May 2022 at 7pm. Co-commissioned with Art Basel, the work will be shown on the M+ Facade at 7pm to 9pm daily until Sunday, 19 June 2022.

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’. The Shape of Light 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 LED facade.

M+ and Art Basel will present a series of free online and offline events from 27 to 29 May 2022. The events will provide opportunities for the public to further explore the message of healing in Pau’s work.

Born and raised in Hong Kong Ellen Pau (born 1961) is an artist who aims to raise our awareness of our physical presence and inspire contemplation of what it means to be, to exist, here and now, and beyond that, the space each of us occupies.

Pau became one of the earliest pioneering video artists in Hong Kong. For Pau, the inspiration she takes from new media is used to examine the self and the times we are living in, ever-shifting and evolving. Beyond artistic creation, Pau has also been a leader in the promotion, curation and education of art and culture in Hong Kong, through the founding of several important initiatives. This includes Hong Kong’s oldest video artist collective and earliest archive for media art, Videotage, co-founded in 1986. She also founded Microwave International New Media Arts Festival in 1996.

Pau's works have been exhibited locally and worldwide in film festivals and art exhibitions, including Hong Kong International Film Festival (1990, 1993, 1997 & 2000), 8th International Film Festival for Women (Spain, 1992), Copenhagen Cultural Capital Foundation, Container 96 (Denmark, 1996), Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (Lisbon, 1996), Johannesburg Biennale (1997), Gwangju Biennial (2002), Liverpool Biennial (2003), Sydney International Film Festival (2004), among others. In 2001, Recycling Cinema, one of her most significant video installations, was first presented at the Hong Kong Pavilion in the 49th Venice Biennale; it is now among her works collected by M+ and was part of the inaugural exhibition when it opened in 2021. Pau has had a few solo shows in Hong Kong in recent times, including her first retrospective, Ellen Pau: What about Home Affairs? — A Retrospective, curated by Freya Chou at Para Site in 2018, and The Great Movement at Edouard Malingue Gallery in 2019.

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