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  • Apr 29, 2022

Weekly News Roundup: April 29, 2022

ALI CHERRI receiving the Silver Lion Award. Photo by Andrea Avezzuu. Courtesy La Biennale di Venezia.

Lebanese Artist Wins Silver Lion at Venice Biennale

On April 23, the 59th Venice Biennale announced Lebanese artist Ali Cherri as the winner of the Silver Lion Award, which recognizes “a young promising participant” in the Biennale's international exhibition. On display in “The Milk of Dreams,” curated by Cecilia Alemani, Cherri’s Titans (2022) comprises three mud sculptures inspired by the Assyrian protective deity Lamassu and other ancient gods. Resonating with the sculptures is Cherri’s three-channel video Of Men and Gods and Mud (2022), which delves into our relationship with water, mud, and stars. The jury described the work as “an interdisciplinary and multilayered presentation that takes a meditation on earth, fire, and water from a constructive perspective to a mythical dimension, reflecting [the exhibition]’s own opening up to other narratives that depart from the logic of progress and reason.” The Golden Lion for the international exhibition went to American artist Simone Leigh, for her monumental sculpture Brick House (2019), a nearly five-meter-tall bronze bust of a Black woman.

ELLEN PAU’s The Shape of Light (2022) on the M+ facade. Photo by Lok Cheng/M+. Courtesy the artist and M+, Hong Kong. 

Art Basel and M+ to Launch Public-Art Commission

Hong Kong’s M+ museum and Art Basel have co-commissioned a new work by video artist Ellen Pau to be displayed on the museum’s 65-meter-tall, 110-meter-wide facade, which faces Victoria Harbour. Pau’s The Shape of Light (2022) incorporates digitally animated special effects to explore “the possibilities of the immaterial and the material, transforming light into digital objects,” resonating with the concept “form is emptiness, emptiness is form.” The work also makes use of sign language and ritualistic gestures. The screening will begin on May 20, in time for the city’s art week and the opening of the Hong Kong edition of Art Basel.  

Reborn Art Festival, featuring KOHEI NAWA’s White Deer (Oshika) (2017) in the background. Courtesy Reborn Art Festival.

Reborn Art Festival Includes Fundraising Initiative for Ukraine  

Postponed due to the pandemic, the second part of Japan’s Reborn Art Festival will take place from August 20 to October 2 in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture, in concurrence with Aichi Triennale and the Setouchi Triennale. Marking the ten-year anniversary of the Tōhoku earthquake, which devastated Miyagi prefecture in 2011, the event is themed “altruism and fluidity.” It will feature 18 groups of artists and collectives, and will include art, music, and food. There will also be an art auction to raise funds to aid reconstructions in Ukraine. Works for the auction will be exhibited at the Kankeimaru store. The 2021–22 edition of Reborn Art Festival opened in August 2021, and witnessed around 100,000 visitors over the summer, but was paused by Japan’s Omicron wave.  

A rendering of the Sydney Modern Project produced by SANAA / Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa. Courtesy the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Sydney Modern Confirms Opening Date 

Sydney Modern Project, the AUD 344 million (USD 249 million) renovation and extension project for the Art Gallery of New South Wales, will open to the public on December 3, just over three years after construction commenced. The new building, designed by the Pritzker-prize-winning architects SANAA, will feature a space repurposed from a World War II oil tank and a gallery dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. As part of the expansion, nine newly commissioned works by local and international artists will be unveiled at the opening.