Renowned for his expressive oil paintings, Hong Kong-based British artist Simon Birch has an undeniably impressive portfolio. For his latest project, The 14th Factory, Birch has taken his love of artistic experimentation a step further by ambitiously transforming an entire Los Angeles warehouse into a large-scale exhibition. One installation that has taken the local art scene—and Instagram—by storm is The Crusher (The Talisman), a site-specific piece composed of 300 hanging pitchforks.
As one wanders into the room that houses The Crusher, he or she is greeted by the downturned farming tools’ pointy prongs. The large group of pitchforks is eerily suspended from the ceiling, creating the illusion that they could easily fall at any time. Surrounded by dilapidated whitewashed walls and suspended over a peeling concrete floor, the already disconcerting pitchfork installation is not set in the most idyllic setting. Still, visitors have flocked to The Crusher, eager to stand, sit, or even lie down beneath the menacing collection of pitchforks and prove their prowess.
To many people, The Crusher may seem like a unique and unusual addition to Birch’s portrait-centric portfolio. However, according to his website, Birch is currently exploring creative avenues—namely, the film and installation realms—outside of his iconic large, figurative oil paintings. Ultimately, though stylistically and conceptually different from his previous works, The Crusher retains the artist’s avant-garde approach to art and captures his imaginative aesthetic.