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The Shape of Light

[20.05.22 – 19.06.22]


Ellen Pau


M+ Facade, Hong Kong

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The Shape of Light, co-commissioned by M+ and Art Basel, is a moving image work by Ellen Pau that intertwines live-action performance and spectacular sci-fi sequences, delivering an awe-inspiring animation on the M+ Facade.

This site-specific work explores the possibilities of the immaterial and the material, transforming light into digital objects. Featuring a popular scripture in Buddhism, The Heart Sutra, it draws upon new connections between the sutra and the energies of Hong Kong. The Shape of Light meditates on the spiritual concept ‘form is emptiness, emptiness is form’, expressed through sign language and other ritualistic gestures. Natural phenomena like fire, water, and light are all rendered in striking computer-generated animation.

Pau sees the M+ Facade ‘like a lighthouse overlooking the sea, a guardian shining a light to all travellers and homecomers.’ The moving image work 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 video wall. Clusters of cells and pixels merge with the building’s architecture, forming a new cultural observatory to the place artists call home.’

– Courtesy of M+, Hong Kong.