Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA) announces 2016 winners

The winners of the 10th edition of the CCAA are Cao Fei, He Xiangyu and Xu Bing.

Art Radar takes a look at the 2016 winners in each of the categories.

Cao Fei, 'RMB City Second Life city planning', 2007, video, colour, sound, 6 minutes. Collection de la Fondation Louis Vuitton. © Cao Fei. Image courtesy the artist and Cao Fei Studio.

Cao Fei, ‘RMB City Second Life city planning’, 2007, video, colour, sound, 6 minutes. Collection de la Fondation Louis Vuitton. © Cao Fei. Image courtesy the artist and Cao Fei Studio.

On 15 November 2016 the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA) announced winners Cao Fei, He Xiangyu and Xu Bing. In its 10th edition, the award was founded in 1997 by pioneering Swiss collector Uli Sigg, who began collecting Chinese contemporary artists in the 1990s.

The award

The aim of CCAA is to give awards to Chinese artists and art critics who show outstanding achievement in artistic creation and in its analysis. The award also aims to develop a dialogue around Chinese contemporary art by holding talks as well as developing publications and exhibitions.

Xu Bing (left) in front of his work at deFINE Art 2015 Exhibitions Opening Reception at SCAD Museum of Art, Winter 2015. Photography by Stephanie Krell. Image courtesy SCAD.

Xu Bing (left) in front of his work at deFINE Art 2015 Exhibitions Opening Reception at SCAD Museum of Art, Winter 2015. Photography by Stephanie Krell. Image courtesy SCAD.

CCAA highlights the necessity of such an award, especially in the current climate of growth in Chinese art,

at a time when Chinese art appears to be validated almost exclusively by market forces, an unexcited and deliberate reflection of the present art production such as CCAA provides through its exhibitions, publications and other activities, is very much in need.

There are three separate awards for artists: Best Artist, Best Young Artist and the Contribution Award. The winners were selected out of a total of 55 nominations from the Nomination Committee and nine artists were selected through a public nomination process.

He Xiangyu, ‘Cola Project’ 2009-2012. Image courtesy the artist and White Space Beijing.

He Xiangyu, ‘Cola Project’ 2009-2012. Image courtesy the artist and White Space Beijing.

The Best Artist award goes to an artist who has shown particular impact through their work in the past two years, while the Best Young Artist goes to an artist under 30 who has demonstrated a strong practice in the last two years. The Outstanding Achievement is awarded to an artist who has made a meaningful contribution to Chinese contemporary art over an extended period of time.

The committee was comprised of seven senior scholars and curators of contemporary Chinese and international contemporary art. The broad-reaching expertise of the committee members, canvassing Western and Chinese art is a feature of the award. The committee members included:

  1. Bernard Blistène, Director, Center Pompidou, France
  2. Chris Dercon, Honorary Curator of the Tate Modern, UK
  3. Feng Boyi, an independent curator, art critic, and Artistic Director of He Xiangning Art Museum
  4. Peng De, Professor from Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, Doctoral Tutor
  5. Suhanya Raffel, Executive Director of M+, Hong Kong
  6. Uli Sigg, a founder of CCAA Chinese Contemporary Art Foundation and collector
  7. Yin Jinan, Dean of School of Humanities at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA)

The artists

Cao Fei, Best Artist Award

Born in 1978 in Guangzhou, Cao Fei works with film and installation to create works that combine surreal atmospheres with social commentary and popular aesthetics. Her work looks into the challenges faced in Chinese society today due to rapid urban change.

Cao Fei, 'Whose Utopia', 2006, (video still) single channel video, 20m:00s. Image courtesy the artist and Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai.

Cao Fei, ‘Whose Utopia’, 2006, (video still) single channel video, 20m:00s. Image courtesy the artist and Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai.

Cao Fei has been exhibited widely, including at Shanghai Biennale, Moscow Biennale, Taipei Biennale, the 15th and 17th Biennales of SydneyIstanbul Biennale, the Yokohama Triennale, and the 50th, 52nd and 56th Venice Biennales. She has also had her work exhibited in key institutions such as Serpentine Gallery and Tate Modern in London; the New Museum, Guggenheim Museum and MoMA in New York; and the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Palais de Tokyo and Centre Pompidou in Paris.

This is not the first time Cao Fei has been recognised by CCAA. In 2006 she won the CCAA’s Best Young Artist Award.

He Xiangyu, Best Young Artist

He Xiangyu was born in 1986 in Liaoning Province, China and now lives and works in Beijing and Berlin. He has an experimental practice that explores the impacts of rapid urbanisation, investigating ideas of materialism and obsolescence in society. One of his well-known projects was called Cola Project, which started in 2009. In this project he explored the nature of the iconic liquid. He boiled down 127 tons of it during the course of a year, creating an earthy, bitumen-like substance which he installed in a number of configurations, including using it to create Song dynasty-style landscape paintings.

He Xiangyu, Installation view, ‘Cola Project- Extraction’, 2009-2010, Coca-Cola Resin, 35 x 27 x 23.5 cm. Photo: Yang Chao Photography Studio. Image courtesy the artist and White Space Beijing.

He Xiangyu, Installation view, ‘Cola Project- Extraction’, 2009-2010, Coca-Cola Resin, 35 x 27 x 23.5 cm. Photo: Yang Chao Photography Studio. Image courtesy the artist and White Space Beijing.

He Xiangyu has exhibited widely, including in the 13th Biennale de Lyon (2015), Shanghai Biennale (2014), Busan Biennale, (2014), Yokohama Triennale (2014), Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2015), White Cube, London (2014) and the A4 Center for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney (2012).

Xu Bing, Contribution Award

Born in Chongqing China in 1955, Xu Bing first studied printmaking at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing. After earning his MFA, he was invited to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990 and he currently works between Beijing and New York. He is most known for his printmaking skills and installation works, as well as his use of language, words and text in his work.

Artist Yang Hongwei introducing his work to Prof. Xu Bing at his opening of “Pixel Analysis” on 7 Nov 2015 at Hui Art Space, Beijing. Image courtesy the artist and Hui Art Space.

Artist Yang Hongwei introducing his work to Prof. Xu Bing at his opening of “Pixel Analysis” on 7 Nov 2015 at Hui Art Space, Beijing. Image courtesy the artist and Hui Art Space.

He has been exhibited in international forums such as the 45th, 51st and 56th Venice Biennales; the Biennale of Sydney and the Johannesburg Biennale amongst others. His work has also been exhibited at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington D.C., the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York; the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; and the Joan Miro Foundation in Spain to name just a few.

Claire Wilson

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