Phoenix News Desk

Geng Jianyi, Hao Jingban and An Exhibition about Exhibitions Win the 11th AAC Awards

Geng Jianyi, Hao Jingban and An Exhibition about Exhibitions Win the 11th AAC Awards

2 Jun, 2017 – Beijing – The ceremony of the 11th Annual Award of Art China (AAC) • Most influential Artists and Works of 2016, was held in the Palace of Established Happiness of the Palace Museum.

As a living witness of the establishment and development of the Chinese contemporary art, AAC has become a mature and stable platform after eleven years of attempt, assessment and adjustment. Incisive statementsonthe selection criteria and ideas of AAC have been made by the first two presidents. LaoZhu found that “the main purpose of AAC is to promote the evaluation of contemporary art”. While Huang Zhuan advocated that “it is necessary to contemplate the achievements and the status quo of Chinesecontemporary art from the vision of the art history”. And the AAC Judging Committee this year evaluated the contemporary art phenomena not only from the traditional perspectives such as “historical vision” and “contemporary spirit”, but also on the basis of the recent trends, evolution and original ideas in the art world. Different from sports games, there is no such thing as quantitative criteria to follow in terms of judging art. But as a public event, AAC should be responsible for the future of art.

The rotating president of the AAC Judging Committee this year was Zheng Shengtian and the judges were joined by 9 prestigious curators and critics including Eugene Y. Wang, Jane DeBevoise, Karen Smith, Keith Wallace, L David Joselit III, LaoZhu, Lu Mingjun and Wang Huangsheng. And the three most influential awards are as follows:

Art Publication of the Year: An Exhibition about Exhibitions: Displaying Experimental Art in the 1990s
Young Artist of the Year: Hao Jingban
Artist of the Year: Geng Jianyi

Zheng Shengtian, the rotating president of AAC Judging Committee delivered the opening speech and he said: “AAC, as the most important contemporary art award, has been in its eleventh year. Thanks to Artron Art Group(Artron), AAC Council and all sponsors, the event can achieve such progress and development. And thanks to over 60 experts and scholars worldwide in the AAC Consultants Committee, the event is of great academic significance. Here, I’d like to pay my tributes to Huang Zhuan, the last rotating president of AAC. Although he passed away last year, his proposal ‘to contemplate Chinese contemporary art from the perspective of the art history’ and the topic ‘Contemporary art in history’ will be the valuable heritage and stay forever with us. The present AAC judges have made a heated discussion on the basis of the ideas and themes mentioned above and finally reached an agreement on the selection of the artists and publication. And we hope that they will also be your choices.”

Later, Chairman of the board of Artron, Mr. Wan Jie remarked that, among all the contemporary art academy awards, few of them can persist for 11 years withfairness and justice in a down-to-earth manner, however, AAC has made it. Gratitude goes to all the friends who have supported AAC, enabling AAC to keep its non-profit feature in the tumultuous market environment. “From this year’s AAC on, we will select 100 artists of the greatest art value from the selected and awarded AAC artists, and record their works and exhibitions through cloud tech which are to be made into Artron AAC giant book, and then donate the book to the colleges and universities. In the future, we will bring the book to more elementary and secondary schools in the remote area, spreading art to every corner in China. Hope through AAC, contemporary Chineseart can be a part of everyone’s life, and more people will get to know Chineseart and Chinese contemporary art.

The Palace Museum, as the venue for the AAC China Award Ceremony, provides significant help for the sustainable development of AAC. Mr. Shan Jixiang, the Director of the Palace Museum, delivered a speech themed “Art of the Palace Museum, the Palace Museum of Art” in which he recalled the intimate cooperation between the Museum and AAC, and introduced all those changes of the Museum taking place in recent years. He elaborated, in particular, those efforts made for protecting cultural architecture and relics, education and cultural continuity towards the new generation, and digital protection and reproduction of the Museum in his speech. “We’ve moved away those temporary structure one after another in recent years to regain the original charm of the Palace Museum, and launched a limit to a number of 80,000 visitors per day with a wider open area. Meanwhile, we’ve lighted up the Taihe Hall as much as possible to blow the dark clouds once covered outside. Visitors now could have a better experience here. We will keep moving to vitalize the Palace Museum with more exhibitions.” Shan said.

Art Publication of the Year: An Exhibition about Exhibitions: Displaying Experimental Art in the 1990s

The first one, Art Publication of the Year, presented by Lu Mingjun, went to An Exhibition about Exhibitions: Displaying Experimental Art in the 1990s. And Mr. Lu announced the reason why this book was the winner “An Exhibition about Exhibitions: Displaying Experimental Art in the 1990s analyzes the exhibitions that promoted the experiments of contemporary art exhibitions of the 1990s and makes great contributions to the problem of ‘exhibitions curating’ which inspired numerous exhibitors and artists.

Its author, Wu Hong, as a prestigious professor on Chinese contemporary art, has published many influential books and anthologies which are regarded as the original sources in his field. He insists that recording history is an indispensable part for us to learn about our human beings. And this book will also play a significant role in further researches. The publication designs of vitality, reflects the features of the century and consists of several pictures and materials rarely seen for others.” After Mr. Lu’s speech, Keith Wallace andL David Joselit III, the members of the Judging Committee, presented Luan Qian, the president and curator of Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT) with the trophy.

Wu Hong, the author of An Exhibition about Exhibitions, expressed his appreciation to AAC via video, “The Art Publication of the Year is a significant honor and inspiration for me. My thanks will firstly go to AAC for its contributions to promote Chinese contemporary art over the past decade and then they go to all judges for their great efforts. And thanks for OCAT Institute to give me the chance to publish the book. As a part of annual publications and lectures project of OCAT in 2016, An Exhibition about Exhibitions, a book on the exhibitions experiences in Chinese contemporary art of 1990s,is the result of all researchers’ efforts.

Different from historical art, contemporary art is not only making history, but also becoming part of history. For me, that is why contemporary art intrigues and attracts me so much. Thanks for your support. Thanks!”

An Exhibition about Exhibitions: Displaying Experimental Art in the 1990s, published by China Nationality Art Photograph Publishing House in July 2016, is composed of the chapters of “Experimental Exhibitions in the 1990s”, “An Exhibition about an Exhibition”, “It ¡s me: A Case Study of an Exhibition”, “Twelve Experimental Exhibitions: A Documentary History” and the appendix. The book focuses on the “problems of exhibitions” in Chinese contemporary art from 1990 to 2000, including the goals, organization, and challenges of exhibiting contemporary art in China.

Young Artist of the Year Went to Hao Jingban

The next award, Young Artist of the Year, had drawn much attention and been in heated discussion before the final review. Five nominated artists including Guan Xiao, Hao Jingban, Lin Ke, Ma Qiusha and Zhaozhao all applied new media material to their works and their experiences reflect two trends of the creation in the young generation. One is to look back history based upon the present, that is, to borrow the forgotten historical episodes and personal experiences to the contemporary situation, giving the audience a kind of resonance and dislocation of the times. Another is to pay more attention to the feelings of oneself, which requires the artists to extract their instant sensual experiences that transcend from the narration into the works. And a fierce discussion on the two trends among judges did not end until the agreement that Hao Jingban won the Young Artist of the Year was reached.

Announced by Wang Yuejin, the award of “Young Artist of the Year” finally went to Hao Jingban. Mr. Wang, on behalf of the Judging Committee, read out his contribution as follows: “Hao’s prose film device is the portrait of the subjective voice. His work, in which sound and pictures, visibility and invisibility, individual and collective, and now and then emerge and interweave, is for tracing the gone historical experience and the lingering attachment. The dislocation of subjective cognition is the artistic framework: the images quietly focus on the present, yet the sound is missed in the recall of the past. The shots and records follow the change of seasons but never stop at threadbare political and social narration, or nostalgic and sentimental cliches.

This film creates an atmosphere of introverted reflection but doesn’t indulge itself in narcissism. Hao, the young artist, is not a fellow traveler on the same journey with his predecessors. Yet, he has followed up, with the help of video-and-audio media loaded with historic attachment and subjective consciousness, the emotion and feelings of individual and collective of a generation’s decades of life, and adding a new chapter to the subjective consciousness which has gone through twists and turns.” Mr. Cai Ming, the CEO of Boloni Company, and KarenSmith were there presenting the award, and Hao’s friend Wang Tiantian took it on behalf of him.

Away in France, Hao Jingban delivered her gratitude to AAC via video, “I’d like to appreciate all who give their concerns on my works and give their supports to me. Communication has been increasingly important in the present world, soI hope that I can devote all myself to feeling the surroundings when creating works and express my ideas and thoughts more clearly in the future. And I also hope my work can promote the communications and exchanges on art.”

Hao, born in Shanxi in 1985, acquired Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies in Goldsmiths, University of London in 2007 and Master of Arts in Film Science in University College London in 2010 and lives in Beijing now. On June 8th 2016, Hao held her latest solo exhibition “New Directions: Hao Jingban” at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA). The exhibition started from the project Beijing Ballrooms which costs Hao three years to investigate and produce. Arriving in China during the Republican Era, ballroom dance prevailed briefly among the Beijing people from all walks of life at the dawn of the People’s Republic, fell from favor during the following decades and was finally resurrected in public parks and plazas after the Reform and Opening. The vicissitudes of ballroom dance not only relate the destined fortuity and certainty of people and the society and display the trends of vogue, but also betray a logic peculiar to ideology. And How were you doing there?, as the first part of the project “industrial landscape”, follows the “cinematic logic of labor” and depicts the scene of production and workers through direct image language, aiming to showcase an actual form of labor. During the shooting process, Hao Jingban even visited the steel and copper factories where her parents and grandparents once worked.

After the “Young Artist of the Year” presentation, the chairman of Artron Art Group, Wan Jie, together with the vice president of Baidu, Yin Shiming announced the “Internet plus art” project through all-round and deep-going cooperation. Yin Shiming said in his speech, “To establish the new environment of ‘Internet plus art’ with Artron Art Group, Baidu will exploit its advantages on AI fully based on the most complete and widely-used artwork data of Artron to store, manage and analyze the valuable art resources and provide reliable art information service. And that’s how we plan to make the best of the art data.” And Wan Jie said: “In virtue of various technical tools such as Baidu Cloud Engine, the treasured art resources accumulated over the past 24 years by Artron will get an ‘eternal and complete’ preservation. Hence, the ordinary citizens are equipped with the access to the convenient and complete art information and the beauty of art.”

It is reported that in the “Internet plus art” project, the two sides will joins hands to promote the application of a new generation of IT tools and to implement the informatization of Artron with the help of Baidu artificial intelligence and Baidu Cloud resources. In the first stage, the two sides will carry out deep cooperation in terms of “Panoramic Map of cultural and art organizations, encyclopedia entries on art and non-heritage and Baidu Chuanke” with the warrant and support of artists, art organizations and galleries, art fairs and museums.

The Artist of the Year Went to Geng Jianyi

The Artist of the Yearwas set to honor the artist who has made great promotions in the Chinese contemporary art and personal work in 2016. It is the one that has experienced the most thorough and concentrated discussion in the final review since the award not only reflects the overall career of an artist, but also focuses on his progress and development of the art and exhibitions in 2016. Nomineesfor the 11th AAC Artist of the Year included Geng Jianyi, He Yunchang, Song Dong, Yang Fudong and Yu Youhan and the winner was Geng Jianyi after a long discussion among judges.

Mr. Wang Huangsheng, a member of the Judging Committee, announced the award and read out Geng’s winning reasons as follows: “Mr.Geng Jianyi takes artistic practice as a way to question “everything”, and he believes that nothing is for granted. Those tiny and delicate projection works in his exhibition not only show his unremitting exploration of reflecting this world in prismatic refraction, but challenge all visitors who are brought into curiosity and restlessness.The emotion delivered by those dynamic fragment is the expression of Geng’s attitudes towards philosophy, identity and life. His attitudes and art deny sweeping judgment. All the above tells us that Geng deserves all the praises and this award.” Later on, Wan Jie, the president of Artron Art Group, and Shan Jixiang, the Director of the Palace Museum were there presenting this award, and Geng’s friend Zhang Peili took it on behalf of him.

Due to physical causes, Geng had to be absent from the ceremony but he delivered his acceptance speech via video: “Without studying art, I would not observe life in such a deep and detailed way and my life would fall into total blankness. So, I want to express the heartfelt thanks to art.” Zhang Peili added that he asked Geng that afternoon what he wanted to say most if he had won the award and Geng gave three words “Love you all!”

Geng Jianyi, born in Zhengzhou, Henan in 1962, graduated from oil painting major, art department of Zhejiang Academy of Art in Hangzhou(present China Academy of Art). In 1986, he and other artists including Zhang Peili, Songling, Wang Qiang and Bao Jianfei launched the artistic group “Chi Society”, one of the earliest groups of idea art. And the postcard exhibitions “Agreement on making Nov. 26th as the cause” and “45 degrees as the cause” have become the milestone in the history of idea art in China in the 1990s. Geng, as one of the Chinese contemporary artists with pioneering spirit emerging from the mid of the 1980s, continues his spirit and explores how to express the feeling and his personal experiences, the latter of which acts as the goal of his work as well as the way to create his work.

On September 24th 2016, OCAT in Shanghai presented Geng Jianyi’s solo exhibition “Stubborn Image” featuring the latest image devices made to order for the OCAT in Shanghai. And the exhibits are of heavy Geng’s attitude of “de-work”. “Stubborn Image” consists of two meanings. On the one hand, it means that the whole exhibition is the video related to mechanical media. On the other hand, it implies the way to see the exhibits. The exhibition hall used A and B space to display the latest image device works of Geng in 2016. The exhibition keeps Geng’s feature of “de-work”: five manual lamps and signal lamps of various styles that can project images, adapted by the artists, transforms 22 Shimizu concrete pillars in the hall into the reaction carriers to images. And the myth-like walls separated the pillars away from each other to inspire the viewers to reflect on the connections among daily life, time, entity and insulation.

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