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Nov 24 2017

Li Ming Wins 2017 Hugo Boss Asia Art Awards

by Ysabelle Cheung

Portrait of LI MING. Courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai.

On November 23, multimedia artist Li Ming was announced as the winner of the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award. The Hangzhou-based artist, whose work probes social context in architecture through video, was selected after an exhibition opened at the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai featuring the other three finalists—Tao Hui, Yu Ji and Robert Zhao Renhui—as part of the biennial tradition of the prize, which was initiated in 2013. A cash prize of RMB 300,000 (USD 45,600) was also presented with the award, which recognizes the development of emerging artists’ practices.

The jury members include curators Yuko Hasegawa, Ute Meta Bauer, Venus Lau, Adele Tan and artist Zhang Peili. Speaking about Li Ming’s practice, Larys Frogier, chairperson of jury and director of Rockbund Art Museum, said: “His oeuvre constitutes one of the most meaningful and advanced contemporary visual creations that brilliantly combine performance, video and sound. His artworks have enriched the field of media and engendered a unique sensitivity of making time and space profuse with infinite possibilities of meaning.”

Installation view of LI MING’s multichannel video installation Rendering the Mind (2017) in “Hugo Boss Asia Art 2017” at Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.
Installation view of LI MING’s multichannel video installation Rendering the Mind (2017) in “Hugo Boss Asia Art 2017” at Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.
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Each floor of the Rockbund Art Museum was dedicated to a finalist selected out of a pool of over 30 nominees, put forward by figures including Joselina Cruz, director and curator of MCAD in Manila; Hong Kong artist Lee Kit; and Zoe Butt, artistic director of Ho Chi Minh City’s The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre. Li Ming presented newly commissioned work as well as highlights of work produced over the last three years, in a showcase that aptly revealed his strength in shaping historical narration. The standout video work, Rendering the Mind (2017), was split across several screens that were woven around a zigzag series of shadowed corridors, augmenting the scenes in the film, which are set in a legendary, five-star hotel in Shanghai, Broadway Mansions. Visitors were drawn to the visual narratives exploring public and private memory, guided by the physical structures of the exhibition space.

The Hugo Boss Asia Art Award was previously won by Kwan Sheung Chi in 2013 for his socially provocative work, and Maria Taniguchi in 2015, who is known for her dense, minimalist paintings of brick grids.

Ysabelle Cheung is the managing editor of ArtAsiaPacific.

Works by the 2017 finalists of the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award for Emerging Asian Artists are on view at the Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, until February 11, 2018.

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