Australian Ben Quilty wins inaugural Prudential Eye Awards in Singapore – news

Australian artist Ben Quilty takes home USD30,000 and the chance to exhibit at London’s Saatchi Gallery.

On 18 January 2014, Australian painter Ben Quilty was nominated as the overall winner of the first edition of the Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art in Singapore. The newly established Asian art prize, backed by financial company Prudential, joins a series of existing awards also sponsored by big corporations.

Australian painter Ben Quilty, overall winner of the Prudential Eye Award for Contemporary Asian Art 2014, Singapore. Exhibition until 5 February 2014, www.prudentialeyeawards.com. Photo: Phil Inglis. Image courtesy Prudential Eye Awards, Singapore.

Australian painter Ben Quilty, overall winner of the Prudential Eye Award for Contemporary Asian Art 2014, Singapore. Exhibition until 5 February 2014, www.prudentialeyeawards.com. Photo: Phil Inglis. Image courtesy Prudential Eye Awards.

On 18 January 2014, the new Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art announced its winners at Suntec City in Singapore. The overall winner, Australian Ben Quilty, accepted prize money of USD30,000 and the opportunity to exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery in London in Summer 2014.

An exhibition of the shortlisted artists runs from 17 January to 5 February 2014 in Singapore, and the works are featured in a limited edition publication by Skira.

The Awards are divided into five categories, including Digital/Video, Installation, Painting, Photography and Sculpture. The judges selected a winner in each category, with prize money of USD20,000, from among 20 nominees in total.

Daniel Crooks, 'Static No.19 (Shibuya Rorschach)', 2012, single-channel high definition digital video 16:9, colour, sound , 6 min 3 sec. Image courtesy the artist, Anna Schwartz Gallery and Prudential Eye Awards, Singapore.

Daniel Crooks, ‘Static No.19 (Shibuya Rorschach)’, 2012, single-channel high definition digital video 16:9, colour, sound, 6m:3s. Image courtesy the artist, Anna Schwartz Gallery and Prudential Eye Awards.

The winning artists

As well as being nominated the overall winner, Ben Quilty won in the category of Painting, beating Tony Garifalakis (Australia), Fiona Lowry (Australia) and Lam Tung Pang (Hong Kong). Quilty creates canvases with layers of smeared, smudged, caked and slapped paint that challenge assumptions. Iconic imagery, animated by a textural third dimension, also becomes a vehicle for meditations on the potency of painting. Quilty’s rich impasto paintings of bold and unsettling subjects explore the problematic relationship between the personal and the cultural.

Daniel Crooks (b. 1973) from Australia won the Digital/Video award, running against Baden Pailthorpe (Australia), Pussy Riot (Russia) and Yang Yongliang (China). Crooks is a multidisciplinary artist who creates video and photographic projects that manipulate the elements of digital video. He creates distorted realities by using slices of images or frames of videos, making images pause, warp and stretch. His cityscapes become mind-altering experiences through the passing of time that transform our perception of reality.

Jompet Kuswidananto, 'Cortege of the Third Realm', 2012, leather, electronic instruments, found objects, dimensions variable of six horse sizes. Image courtesy the artist, Ark Galerie and Prudential Eye Awards. Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art, exhibition until 5 February 2014, www.prudentialeyeawards.com

Jompet Kuswidananto, ‘Cortege of the Third Realm’, 2012, leather, electronic instruments, found objects, dimensions variable of six horse sizes. Image courtesy the artist, Ark Galerie and Prudential Eye Awards.

Jompet Kuswidananto, from Indonesia, won the Installation award, competing with Lee Jaehyo (Korea), Irina Korina (Russia) and Sun Yuan and Peng Yu (China). The self-taught artist, who trained as a musician, makes multimedia installation combining video, sound and mechanised elements. His practice investigates the complex history of Indonesia, reflecting the dramatic pace of cultural, social and political change that has engulfed their nation since the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998. Kuswidananto focuses on the realities and complexities of contemporary life in an increasingly globalised and interconnected world.

Ben Quilty, 'Smashed Rorschach', 2009, oil on linen, diptych, 190 x 280cm. Image courtesy the artist, Jan Murphy Gallery and Prudential Eye Awards. Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art, exhibition until 5 February 2014, www.prudentialeyeawards.com

Ben Quilty, ‘Smashed Rorschach’, 2009, oil on linen, diptych, 190 x 280cm. Image courtesy the artist, Jan Murphy Gallery and Prudential Eye Awards.

 

Trent Parke, 'After the Rodeo, Harts Ranges NT', 2004, pigment print, 69 x 115 x 5 cm. Image courtesy the artist, Stills Gallery and Prudential Eye Awards. Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art, exhibition until 5 February 2014, www.prudentialeyeawards.com

Trent Parke, ‘After the Rodeo, Harts Ranges NT’, 2004, pigment print, 69 x 115 x 5cm. Image courtesy the artist, Stills Gallery and Prudential Eye Awards.

Trent Parke, also Australian, won the Photography award against Eric Bridgeman (Australia/Papua New Guinea), Almond Chu (Hong Kong) and Chaewook Lim (Korea). Parke started as a press photojournalist. In 2003 to 2004, he documented his two-year journey around Australia examining ‘the current and changing state of the Australian nation,’ capturing the mood of a still young nation. His work verges on the documentary, while also giving way to originality and imagination, blurring the boundaries between reality and fiction.

Seoung Wook Sim, 'Construction & Deconstruction', 2013, wood, hot melt glue, cardboard paper, acrylic paint, fluorescent light or LED, 250 X 250 X 190 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Prudential Eye Awards. Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art, exhibition until 5 February 2014, www.prudentialeyeawards.com

Seoung Wook Sim, ‘Construction & Deconstruction’, 2013, wood, hot melt glue, cardboard paper, acrylic paint, fluorescent light or LED, 250 x 250 x 190cm. Image courtesy the artist and Prudential Eye Awards.

Seoung Wook Sim from Korea won the Sculpture award, competing against Yong Ho Ji (Korea), Yuji Honbori (Japan) and Anna Zhelud (Russia). Seoung Wook Sim describes landscapes, figures, natives and constructions through his work. Wook Sim’s dark and sublime sculptures record unusual journeys to different domains, and are detailed representations of a world created in his imagination.

Other award winners

Contemporary Chinese artist Liu Xiaodong was honoured with an award of ‘Outstanding Contribution to Asian Contemporary Art’ sponsored by Audemars Piguet. As expressed in the press release, Liu’s career “has been defined by an unparalleled dedication to the chronicling of humanity – living day-to-day on-site with the subjects of his paintings.”

An award celebrating achievement by an exhibition of Asian art was given to the Singapore Biennale, and another honouring excellence by an emerging art gallery in greater Asia was given to Galerie Chandan, Kuala Lumpur for its pioneering work.

Running alongside the main award, the 2014 Prudential Singapore Young Artist Award nominated James John Dycoco from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) as the overall winner for his photographic work, with a USD10,000 scholarship. Candidates in the five categories for this award, chosen by LASALLE College of the Arts and NAFA, are exhibiting their work alongside the Prudential Eye Awards shortlisted artists.

From left: Barry Stowe, Chief Executive, Prudential Corporation Asia; Johnson Chang, Co-founder, Art Asia Archive; Tidjane Thiam, Group Chief Executive, Prudential plc.; Serenella Ciclitira, Founder, Parallel Contemporary Art; Nigel Hurst, CEO, Saatchi Gallery; David Ciclitira, Co-founder, Parallel Contemporary Art. 2011, Justin Wong, Difficult Life Station (Background).Hong Kong Eye, Saatchi Gallery, 2012. Image courtesy Prudential Eye Awards.

From left: Barry Stowe, Chief Executive, Prudential Corporation Asia; Johnson Chang, Co-founder, Art Asia Archive; Tidjane Thiam, Group Chief Executive, Prudential plc.; Serenella Ciclitira, Founder, Parallel Contemporary Art; Nigel Hurst, CEO, Saatchi Gallery; David Ciclitira, Co-founder, Parallel Contemporary Art. 2011, Justin Wong, Difficult Life Station (Background). Hong Kong Eye, Saatchi Gallery, 2012. Image courtesy Prudential Eye Awards.

About the Prudential awards

A group of seven experts in the field of Asian art forms the independent panel of judges for the Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art. The panel includes Serenella Ciclitira, Founder, Parallel Contemporary Art; Nigel Hurst, CEO, Saatchi Gallery; Tsong-Zung Chang, Co-founder, Asia Art Archive; Sir David Green, former Director-General, British Council; Nick Mitzevich, Director, Art Gallery of Southern Australia; Lee Young Hye, Creative Director, Gwangju Design Biennale; Andreï Erofeev, independent curator and critic; and Tan Boon Hui, Group Director, Programmes Group, National Heritage Board of Singapore.

Tan Boon Hui, Group Director, Programmes Group, National Heritage Board said about the awards:

Asia is now one of the most important art producing regions in the world and yet the region is more diverse than we realise and has many more exceptional artists that should be seen by the world. The new Prudential Eye Awards, and its recognition of Asian talents has the potential to further strengthen Asian contemporary art’s presence on the global stage.

The Prudential Eye Awards, sponsored by worldwide insurance giant Prudential Corporation, is part of the Global Eye Programme, started by Parallel Contemporary Art in collaboration with Saatchi Gallery. The Global Eye initiative, launched in 2008 to promote emerging contemporary artists, has seen the organisation of touring exhibitions with published catalogues, such as Indonesian Eye (2011), Korean Eye (2012) and Hong Kong Eye (2013) and the soon-to-come Malaysian Eye (2014).

Pussy Riot, 'Punk Prayer 'Mother of God, put Putin away'', 2012, high definition digital video. Image courtesy the artist and Prudential Eye Awards. Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art, exhibition until 5 February 2014, www.prudentialeyeawards.com

Pussy Riot, ‘Punk Prayer ‘Mother of God, put Putin away”, 2012, high definition digital video. Image courtesy the artist and Prudential Eye Awards.

Corporate sponsored awards increasing across Asia

With the growth of the Asian contemporary art scene and the continuing shift of the centre of the international art scene towards the East, western corporations have caught up with the trend by sponsoring new awards and prizes, many of them focusing on Asian contemporary art. In 2013 Hugo Boss established the Asian edition of its art prize, the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award, which was launched at Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai. Deutsche Bank sponsors Russia’s first prize for contemporary art, the Kandinsky Prize in Moscow. In India, The ŠKODA Prize is among the most prestigious prizes in the Indian art scene for artists under 45 years of age. Fondazione Prada, in collaboration with the Qatar Museums Authority, launched its Curate Award in 2013 in Doha, aimed at recognising international emerging curatorial talents.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

This article was published on the 20th January, following the announcement of the award.

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Related topics: art awards and prizes, awards ceremonies, Australian artists, Chinese artists, Korean artists, Japanese artists, Indonesian artists, Russian artists, Hong Kong artists, Singaporean artists, promoting art, emerging artists, events in Singapore

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