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Aug 27 2020

Work about Lockdown Wins 2020 Nissan Art Award

by Pamela Wong
Portrait of ISHU HAN, the winner of the Nissan Art Award 2020 Grand Prix. Courtesy the artist and Nissan Art Awards.
Portrait of ISHU HAN, the winner of the Nissan Art Award 2020 Grand Prix. Courtesy the artist and Nissan Art Awards.
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On August 26, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced Ishu Han as the winner of the Nissan Art Award 2020 Grand Prix at a live-streamed ceremony in Tokyo. The artist will receive a cash prize of JPY 5 million (USD 47,190), which includes the opportunity to participate in an overseas artist residency, pending Covid-19 developments.

Tokyo-based Han graduated from the MFA program in intermedia art from the Tokyo University of the Arts in 2012. Having moved from Shanghai to Japan at the age of nine, his multimedia works, which spans video, installation, photography, and painting, often investigate issues surrounding migration and identity. His winning artwork where are you now (2020), comprised of a large-scale tetrapod-shaped sculpture wrapped with space blankets and a video installation, was produced at home due to the Covid-19- induced lockdown. The sculpture, which also resembles a spaceship, is seen traveling out into the sea in the projected video, symbolizing the continuous flow of products and information despite the temporary confinement of human movement. According to the jury, the work “succinctly yet vividly visualizes the feelings of confusion and solitude rampant in our society” and also “interweaves a rich sensibility into an incredibly minimal form of expression and inspires the viewer to reflect deeply and widely on problems.”

For the 2020 edition of the Nissan Art Award, Han and four other finalists were chosen from 28 artists nominated by researchers and art workers in Japan. The other finalists, who also attended the ceremony, include printmaker Sachiko Kazama, who delved into the urban phenomena; bio-art focused multimedia artist Soichiro Mihara; sculptor Nobuko Tsuchiya; as well as new-media artist Ei Wada, who utilized old electronic appliances to create electronic music. Each of the other finalists will receive JPY 1 million (USD 9,430).

Nissan Art Award has been awarded to four emerging artists since its establishment in 2013, including Aiko Miyanaga for the inaugural award, Yuko Mohri in 2015, and Hikaru Fujii in 2017. The international jury of the fourth edition, chaired by Fumio Nanjo, senior advisor of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, had to digitally review entries this year due to traveling restrictions. The other jury members included Jean de Loisy, director of Paris’s École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts; Suhanya Raffel, museum director of Hong Kong’s M+; Ute Meta Bauer, founding director of Singapore’s NTU Centre for Contemporary Art; and Lawrence Rinder, former director and chief curator of California’s Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. 

The finalist exhibition at Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama and its accompanying virtual  showcase runs until September 22.

Pamela Wong is ArtAsiaPacific’s assistant editor. 

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

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