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Nov 06 2019

Eisa Jocson Wins 2019 Hugo Boss Asia Art Award

by Ophelia Lai and HG Masters

EISA JOCSON is the winner of the 2019 Hugo Boss Asia Art Award. Courtesy Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai.

On November 6, at a press conference at Shanghai’s Rockbund Art Museum (RAM), institution director Larys Frogier and Hugo Boss Greater China managing director Jerome Bachasson announced Eisa Jocson as the winner of the 2019 Hugo Boss Asia Art Award. She will receive a prize of RMB 300,000 (USD 42,800).

Born in Manila in 1986, Jocson initially trained as a dancer, which has informed many of the artist’s performance and film projects to date. Jocson’s practice centers on notions of gender, Philippine identity, and migrant labor as expressed through the body. Shown as part of the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award finalists exhibition at RAM, Jocson’s four-channel video installation Corponomy (2019) features the artist pole-dancing, performing on a silver stage, practicing her act as Disney princess Snow White, and imitating hostesses at Tokyo nightclubs in a study of migrant work in the global entertainment and service industries. Jocson has participated in group exhibitions including “Motions of This Kind” (2019) at London’s Brunei Gallery, the School of Oriental and African Studies; Sharjah Biennial 14 (2019); and the first Bangkok Art Biennale (2018).

Jocson was selected by a jury from a shortlist that also included video artist Hao Jingban, multimedia artist Hsu Che-Yu, and painter and filmmaker Thao Nguyen Phan. At the press conference, Frogier praised the jury and the exhibition curator Billy Tang, stating it was his favorite edition of the award because of the diversity and maturity of the works. He added that the four artists “embraced the complexity of their worlds” in practices that were both “dynamic and critical.” Jocson, who was not present due to a performance scheduled in Bern, had recorded a video message to be played at the announcement. She expressed gratitude for the award, commenting that it has “propelled” her in new directions and will help her develop a new body of work after an “intense period of creation crisis.”

Previous winners of the biennial prize include multimedia artist Li Ming, painter and sculptor Maria Taniguchi, and conceptual artist Kwan Sheung Chi.

The 2019 finalists exhibition is on view at RAM until January 5, 2020.

Ophelia Lai is ArtAsiaPacific’s associate editor.

HG Masters is ArtAsiaPacific’s deputy publisher and deputy editor.

To read more of ArtAsiaPacific’s articles, visit our Digital Library.

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