Video artist Li Ming is announced as the winner of the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award 2017.
The artist was chosen by a panel of six jurists, led by Larys Frogier, Director of the Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai.
Announced on 23 November 2017, the Chinese-born video artist Li Ming was named the winner of the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award 2017, with a prize of RMB300,000. The winning artist was selected by a six-man jury panel which comprised of curators and artists, including Ute Meta Bauer, Yuko Hasegawa and Venus Lau. The other finalists were Chinese-born artists Tao Hui and Yu Ji, and Singaporean artist Robert Zhao Ren Hui.
The Hugo Boss Asia Art: Award for Emerging Asian Artists is made up of an award selection process, an accompanying exhibition of the finalist artists and ongoing public and educational programme. Established as a platform for showcasing young artists from the region, the award falls under the wider umbrella of the Hugo Boss Global Arts Programme, which focuses on contemporary art. Initiated in 2013, the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award is now currently in its third edition. Continuing their partnership with the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai, the award has consistently identified artists who engage with critical conversations in art and society, demonstrating innovative artistic practices with a unique voice in the cultural landscape. Past winners of the biennial Hugo Boss Asia Art Award are Maria Taniguchi (2015) and Kwan Sheung Chi (2013).
The Winner: Li Ming
Known for his video and video installation works, Hangzhou-based Li Ming is a graduate of the China Academy of Art. In 2015, Li Ming mounted his solo exhibition at the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2015). Entitled “MEIWE”, the solo presentation featured a site-specific video installation work of the same name. Turning the gallery into a veritable simulation of a road, with asphalt laid on the floor, the video installation featured a veritable cornucopia of images and sounds. Interlacing projections of health runners with voices of isolated and mentally distressed characters, the exhibition addressed the intersections between “I”, “me” and “we”. Other solo exhibitions that Li Ming has been involved in include “Meditation” at Antenna Space, Shanghai (2014). He has also participated in group exhibitions at the Ming Contemporary Art Museum and K11 Art Space in Shanghai, and the 2016 Busan Biennale.
Taking certain images, words or actions as a starting point, the work of Li Ming often addresses facets of contemporary reality, ranging from the emotional to the socially critical. His latest work is Rendering the Mind (2017), a video shot in the five-star hotel Broadway Mansions. Weaving stories inspired by the atmosphere and the building itself, the work contemplates the social context of the hotel with a certain revealing sensitivity. Across a multi-channel video installation, the viewer is encouraged to explore the intersection between public space and private memory.
The Finalists Exhibition at RAM
This year, the finalists of the award were announced in July. The group exhibition showcasing the artwork of the four finalists at the Rockbund Art Museum opened on the 27 October 2017, and will run until 11 February 2018. Featuring a mix of existing works and new commissions by RAM, the exhibition this year is heavy on video and installation works. Li Ming’s Rendering the Mind is accompanied by highlights of his practice from the past three years in a special site-specific layout. Linking the location of Broadway Mansions with the locales of his previous works, which include subway tunnels, unfinished construction sites of soon-to-be art museums, and clock factories, Li Ming’s presentation features a focus on spaces, edges and exits, accompanied with shifting interactions between camera, spaces and the vision of the viewer.
Other works on show include Tao Hui’s Hello, Finale, a multi-channel video installation which comprises of videos showing TV characters making phone calls to other people discussing a whole gamut of topics. Yu Ji’s presented work is the environment installation Etudes – Lento IV, which comprises of chains of iron supporting thin, dangling resin.
Robert Zhao Ren Hui’s presentation at the Rockbund Art Museum is an entire installation of a natural history museum, displaying objects and paraphernalia that he collected over his visits to various zoos over the past ten years. Meant as a means of engaging the past of the Rockbund Art Museum building as the former site of the Royal Asiatic Society, the installation contemplates the systems of information that accompany the scientific processes, as well as the narrative forms that they come packaged in.
Remarking upon the Hugo Boss Art Asia exhibition, senior curator Li Qi noted:
We can clearly recognize that the four artists contribute to a new language and form in visual art through their practices. They care for artistic traditions, mass culture, cross-disciplinary boundaries, and active interventions in reality. Their growth has accompanied the process whereby the contemporary artistic systems of the region have progressively become more rounded out…Through the exhibition, we can sense the ardor, energy, and attention of the artists, and share their wealth of emotions and rational reflections.
In addition to the exhibition, the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award is accompanied by a series of public and educational activities including talks, seminars and workshops aimed at exploring the wider social and artistic contexts in China and Southeast Asia. This year’s Hugo Boss Asia Art exhibition is also accompanied by a printed catalogue.
“HUGO BOSS ASIA ART: Award for Emerging Asian Artists” is on view from 27 October 2017 to 11 February 2018 at Rockbund Art Museum, 20 Huqiu Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai.
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