2019.12.20 Fri, by
M+ Sigg Prize 2020 Nominees Announced

by Ran Dian

Not a lot of positive news comes out of Hong Kong these days but the shortlist for the revamped CCCA (Chinese Contemporary Art Award) has just been announced. Nominated artists are Hu Xiaoyuan, Liang Shuo, Lin Yilin, Tao Hui, Shen Xin and Samson Young. Two are women: Hu Xiaoyuan and Shen Xin.

In 1998 Swiss collector Dr Uli Sigg launched the CCCA and it quickly became the most prestigious art award in China. While it was not the biggest art award, it had the greatest ambition – to situate China’s new art within a global context. Partly this was achieved using famous international art professionals as jurors. Partly it was achieved by being strictly non-commercial: there have never been sponsors involved. The CCCA was awarded biannually up to 2018 (every other year there is an award for art criticism). Home to the renowned Sigg Collection, this year M+ took over administration of the prize under its own auspices. As the website states:

“Open to artists born or working in the Greater China region and its diasporas, the Sigg Prize highlights and promotes on an international scale the important artistic practices and discussions taking place here.”

M+ Sigg Prize 2020

Six artists are invited to participate in the exhibition, from whom the winner is chosen, similarly to the way Tate Modern’s Turner Prize in the UK functions. The winner receives HKD 500,000 and the others HKD 100,000 each. Members of the jury for the 2020 Sigg Prize are Maria Balshaw (Director, Tate, United Kingdom), Bernard Blistène (Director, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris), Gong Yan (Director, Power Station of Art, Shanghai), Lai Hsiangling (curator, Taipei), Suhanya Raffel (Museum Director, M+, Hong Kong), Uli Sigg (collector and member of the M+ Board, Switzerland), and Xu Bing (artist, Beijing).

Hong Kong social art installation (image: Receive News)

Hong Kong social art installation (image: Receive News)

It will be interesting to see if the nominees follow the Turner nominees this year in becoming a single collective, thus frustrating the competition, and ultimately leading to being awarded the prize collectively. It will also be interesting to see how they respond to Hong Kong’s political climate. The artists cannot ignore it, but they are damned if they do. Then again, they will also be damned if they don’t. Indeed these are strange times we live in. After all, who’d have thought Big Brother would hold up a gambling tax haven as a model subjugated territory? Or that things would be so bad in Hong Kong that Art Basel would offer discounts like it was a fire sale?

Happy Holidays!

Nominees for the M+ Sigg Art Award are Hu Xiaoyuan (born 1977, lives and works in Beijing), Liang Shuo (born 1976, lives and works in Beijing), Lin Yilin (born 1964, lives and works in New York), Tao Hui (born 1987, lives and works in Beijing), Shen Xin (born 1990, lives and works in Minneapolis and Amsterdam) and Samson Young (born 1979, lives and works in Hong Kong).