HONG KONG.- M+
, Hong Kongs museum of twentieth- and twenty-first-century visual culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District, announces Hong Kongbased artist Samson Young as the winner of the inaugural Sigg Prize. The jury was unanimously impressed by Youngs vivid, multifaceted approach to sound and performance, clearly articulated in his installation Muted Situations #22: Muted Tchaikovskys 5th, on view in the Sigg Prize 2019 exhibition alongside works by five other shortlisted artists at the M+ Pavilion until 17 May 2020. Youngs work presents an orchestral performance in which the musicians mute the notes they play, drawing the audiences attention to sounds that often go unnoticed. The Sigg Prize, established by M+ in Hong Kong in 2018, was formerly the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA), founded by Uli Sigg in China in 1998 and presided over by Liu Li Anna from 2011 until 2018. A biennial award recognising important artistic practices in the Greater China region, the Sigg Prize is open to artists born or working in the region, with the intention to highlight and promote diverse and exciting work on an international scale. Young wins a cash prize of HK$500,000. HK$100,000 will be awarded to the five other shortlisted candidates.
The Sigg Prize jury comments: Samson Young takes sound as source material, in an experimental practice rooted in his background in music composition. By muting the melody in an orchestral performance, he brings peripheral sounds to the fore. With an element of humour, Young prompts audiences to focus on what is often overlooked or ignored, and to question the essence of the music and the collective ambition. By silencing the dominant sound, the work mirrors elements of current political dynamics.
Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+, co-chairwoman of the Sigg Prize, describes the richness of the jurys discussion: We focused on the strengths of the works included in the Sigg Prize 2019 exhibition and spoke with each of the six shortlisted artists individually, following on conversations on their larger practices in the first jury meeting. The presentation of work by the shortlisted artists forms a compelling statement on the current landscape of contemporary art in the Greater China region. We are delighted to recognise Samson Youngs outstanding, sophisticated work. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to him, and my deep thanks to all the shortlisted artists.
Beijing-based researcher Yang Zi is awarded the first Sigg Fellowship, formerly the CCAA Art Critic Prize, founded by Uli Sigg in 2007. The Sigg Fellowship for Chinese Art Research, awarded biennially, is designed to support new research on Chinese art, in dialogue with the M+ Collections. The inaugural fellowship with a grant of HK$200,000 will support Yangs research into aspects of artists engagement with folk arta range of practices related to non-elite culture and popular belief systemsin twentieth-century China. He will develop his project over the coming months and will deliver an essay as well as a public talk by the end of 2020.
The jury of the Sigg Fellowship recognised Yang Zi for his research proposal Diffused Religion and the Origins of the 1980s Avant-Garde of China. The jury was impressed by Yangs thesis of how folklore consistently nurtured the growth of avant-garde art in twentieth-century China, commenting: Yang Zis proposed project foregrounds aesthetics, traditions, and belief systems, highlighting developments in contemporary art in China that have been too easily overlooked. We believe that his work will open new lines of investigation into the M+ Sigg Collection and the M+ Collections as a whole and, more broadly, provide new ways of understanding and looking at Chinese contemporary art.
Uli Sigg emphasises the Sigg Prize and Sigg Fellowship as essential developments in the recognition of contemporary practices and new research on Chinese art: I am thrilled to see the inaugural editions of the prize and fellowship. With its global scope, the Sigg Prize expresses the transnational character of Chinese contemporary art and ensures that audiences around the world have the opportunity to encounter the work of artists from the Greater China region. Following on the work of the CCAA, the Sigg Prize defines a clear voice in the conversation on important current practices. The Sigg Fellowship is an experimental programme dedicated to new research, and is a vital continuation of the work of the CCAA Art Critic Award. I have no doubt that it will make a strong contribution to the art ecology of the region.