M+, Hong Kong’s museum of twentieth- and twenty-first-century visual culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District, is pleased to present the inaugural Sigg Prize exhibition.

The exhibition brings together work by the six artists shortlisted for the prize: Hu Xiaoyuan (born 1977, lives and works in Beijing), Liang Shuo (born 1976, lives and works in Beijing), Lin Yilin (born 1964, lives and works in New York), Shen Xin (born 1990, lives and works in Minneapolis and Amsterdam), Tao Hui (born 1987, lives and works in Beijing), and Samson Young (born 1979, lives and works in Hong Kong). In recent years, each has articulated a distinguished artistic language to address topics that defy easy categorisation.

The exhibition comprises works created within the last two years. Hu Xiaoyuan’s Spheres of Doubt is an installation featuring raw silk and found objects that addresses the imperceptible passage of time and the nature of reality. Liang Shuo’s In the Peak is a site-specific work that consists of a bamboo structure placed outside the exhibition gallery at the M+ Pavilion, proposing a visual and spatial connection between Victoria Peak and the M+ building. Lin Yilin’s Typhoon is a video documenting a performance in the artist’s native Guangzhou, constructing an unexpected experience of the urban space. In his video installation Provocation of the Nightingale, Shen Xin explores questions of identity and trauma with a particular set of protagonists. Tao Hui’s nine-channel video installation Hello, Finale! reflects on questions related to death and endings. In the video work Muted Situations #22: Muted Tchaikovsky’s 5th, Samson Young presents an orchestral performance in which the musicians mute the notes they play, drawing the audience’s attention to sounds that often go unnoticed.

The Sigg Prize, established by M+ in Hong Kong in 2018, was formerly the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA), founded by Uli Sigg in China in 1998 and presided over by Liu Li Anna since 2011. The CCAA was the first award for contemporary art in mainland China, and it was a leading force in steering Chinese art and artists to the world, helping to frame the international conversation on Chinese contemporary art. Twenty-five artists or artist groups and nine art critics were awarded the CCAA over its history. Following twenty years of activity, the CCAA is providing the foundations on which the Sigg Prize has been built. This will in future be administered by M+.

The exhibition is curated by Pi Li, Sigg Senior Curator, Visual Art, M+. During the exhibition, members of the Sigg Prize jury will select the winner. A cash prize of HK$500,000 will be awarded to the winner, and HK$100,000 will be awarded to each of the other shortlisted artists to encourage their future practice. The final result will be announced in May 2020.

The Sigg Prize is open to artists born or working in the Greater China region who produce work that is relevant to the region, with the intention to highlight and promote on an international scale diverse and exciting practices. The shortlisted artists were selected by an international jury. For this inaugural edition of the prize, co-chaired by Suhanya Raffel and Liu Li Anna, the members of the jury are Maria Balshaw (Director, Tate, United Kingdom), Bernard Blistène (Director, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris), Gong Yan (Director, Power Station of Art, Shanghai), Lai Hsiangling (curator, Taipei), Suhanya Raffel (Museum Director, M+, Hong Kong), Uli Sigg (collector and member of the M+ Board, Switzerland), and Xu Bing (artist, Beijing). The jury recognised six artists who, taken together, embrace many locations in their work and clearly articulate the transnational character of Chinese contemporary art.

Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+, and Co-chairwoman of the Sigg Prize, expresses the importance of the exhibition for the work of M+: ‘As a global institution with firm roots in our region, M+ is committed to enriching the artistic dialogues taking place here and extending these dialogues internationally. The Sigg Prize is a cornerstone of our work in this regard. It draws wide attention to important contemporary practices and also provides an opportunity for these practices to grow and to move in new directions. This exhibition makes a clear statement on the current transformations taking place across contexts and affirms the ambition of the Sigg Prize as a global platform.’

Uli Sigg, collector and member of the M+ Board, emphasises the prize’s reach: ‘I am delighted to see the Sigg Prize coming to a new stage of fruition in this exhibition. With the CCAA, I planted the seeds for deeper conversations on Chinese contemporary art, and the definition of the Sigg Prize as an M+ programme ensures that these conversations continue to evolve and reach wider audiences both within the region and far beyond.’

Pi Li, Sigg Senior Curator, Visual Art, M+, and curator of the exhibition, articulates the statement made by this presentation of contemporary practices: ‘Concentrating on work produced in the last two years, the combination of six practices in this exhibition reveals multiple connections with our current time. Some of the shortlisted artists react to and reflect on social and political realities, while others pursue the refinement and expression of personal languages and inner worlds. Together, these artists show the diversity of practices in our region today.’

In parallel with the Sigg Prize, M+ is organising the Sigg Fellowship for Chinese Art Research, to support new research on Chinese art. Held every other year, the fellowship is in dialogue with the M+ Collections and corresponds with the museum’s commitment to enriching the contemporary conversation on art in the region, and to defining new platforms for research and debate. In particular, research can engage with the M+ Sigg Collection, a cornerstone of the M+ Collections and one of the most important and comprehensive collections of Chinese contemporary art in the world.

Exhibition details
The Sigg Prize 2019 exhibition is curated by Pi Li, Sigg Senior Curator, Visual Art; assisted by Isabella Tam, Associate Curator, Visual Art; Ariadne Long, Assistant Curator, Visual Art; Minnie Cheung, Curatorial Assistant; Kary Woo, Curatorial Assistant; and Lai Man Kit, Intern.

Graphic design: Hato, Hong Kong and London
Dates: 7 December 2019–17 May 2020
Opening hours: 11am–6pm, Wednesdays to Sundays and on public holidays. Closed on 25 December 2019, 1 January 2020, and 25–26 January 2020. Liang Shuo’s In the Peak will close at 5pm on exhibition days.
Location: M+ Pavilion, Art Park, West Kowloon Cultural District
Free admission

The hotel partner of the Sigg Prize 2019 exhibition is Rosewood Hong Kong.


About the Shortlisted Artists

Hu Xiaoyuan

Image: Winnie Yeung@iMAGE28
Courtesy of M+, Hong Kong

Hu Xiaoyuan was born in Harbin and studied communication design at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, graduating in 2002. Her practice encompasses installation, video, sculpture, and painting, often drawing from specific experiences to address abstract topics related to time, space, consciousness, and existence. In 2007, she became the first female Chinese artist to participate in Documenta. She also participated in the New Museum Triennial in 2012 and the Taipei Biennial in 2014. Her work has been exhibited extensively both in China and internationally, including at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; the Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm; Kunsthaus Graz; the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California; the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; the Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; the Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum; the Power Station of Art, Shanghai; the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Video Bureau, Beijing; Beijing Commune; and Pace Gallery, Beijing. Her work has been collected by M+, the Rockbund Art Museum, the Hammer Museum, the Power Station of Art, and other institutions.

Liang Shuo

Image: Winnie Yeung@iMAGE28
Courtesy of M+, Hong Kong

Liang Shuo was born in 1976 and graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, in 2000, majoring in sculpture. From 2002 to 2007, he taught sculpture at the Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University. Between 2005 and 2006, he was an artist-in-residence at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (the Royal Academy of Art), The Hague. In 2009, he began teaching sculpture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. In a practice that brings together a range of materials and found objects, Liang defines an approach characterised by what he terms ‘scum’: roughness, a reliance on processes of construction and destruction, and an interest in everyday objects. His work has been presented at major museums around the world, including the National Art Museum of China, Beijing; the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, Seoul; the Singapore Art Museum; the Power Station of Art, Shanghai; the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; and the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam. His solo exhibition DISTANT tantamount MOUNTAIN was held at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden in 2017.

Lin Yilin

Image: Winnie Yeung@iMAGE28
Courtesy of M+, Hong Kong

Lin Yilin was born in Guangzhou and lives and works in New York. He co-founded the influential artist collective the Big-Tail Elephant Group in Guangzhou in 1990. He participated in the exhibition Cities on the Move in 1997, as well as the Johannesburg Biennale in 1997, the Taipei Biennial in 1998, the Gwangju Biennale in 2002, the Venice Biennale in 2003 and 2015, Documenta in 2007, La Biennale de Lyon in 2009, the Swiss Sculpture Exhibition in 2014, and the Havana Biennial in 2015. His work has been exhibited at Kunsthalle Bern, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, MoMA PS1, Asia Society Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Hayward Gallery, M+, and MAXXI. Lin’s conceptual practice brings together sculpture, installation, photography, actions and performances, and video, commingling social architecture with everyday life.

Shen Xin

Image: Winnie Yeung@iMAGE28
Courtesy of M+, Hong Kong

Shen Xin lives and works in Minneapolis and Amsterdam. Through films and video installations, as well as performative events, his practice examines and fabricates techniques and effects of how emotion, judgment, and ethics circulate through individual and collective subjects. By focusing on interpersonal complexity and political narratives, his films often aim to generate reflexiveness to dismantle dominant power structures. His recent solo presentations include To Satiate at Madeln Gallery, Shanghai (2019); Methods of Inhabiting at K11 Shanghai (2018); Sliced Units at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester (2018); half-sung, half spoken at the Serpentine Pavilion, London (2017); and At Home at Surplus Space, Wuhan (2016). Recent group exhibitions include New Metallurgists at the Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf (2018); Songs for Sabotage at the New Museum Triennial, New York (2018); and The New Normal at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2017). Shen was awarded the BALTIC Artists’ Award in 2017, and he is currently an artist-in-residence at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam.

Tao Hui

Image: Winnie Yeung@iMAGE28
Courtesy of M+, Hong Kong

Tao Hui was born in Yunyang, Sichuan Province. He graduated from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in oil painting in 2010 and currently lives and works in Beijing. He incorporates folk culture and traditional art forms into painting, video, and graphic works, using technological procedures and elements from traditional Chinese culture to question globalisation, virtual relationships, and hegemonic thinking. He received the award of the Contemporary Art Archive of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2008, the Huayu Youth Award (Art Sanya) in 2015, and the Grand Prize at the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil in 2015. His solo exhibitions include Rhythm and Senses (Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong, 2019); Tao Hui (The Breeder, Athens, 2018); Not at All (OCAT Xi’an, 2017); New Direction: Tao Hui (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing); and 1 Character & 7 Materials (AIKE-DELLARCO, Shanghai, 2015). Tao’s work was included in the Bangkok Art Biennale (2018), How Little You Know About Me (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, Seoul, 2018), the Guangzhou Image Triennial (2017), the Shanghai Biennale (2016), and Bentu: Chinese Artists at a Time of Turbulence and Transformation (Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016).

Samson Young

Image: Winnie Yeung@iMAGE28
Courtesy of M+, Hong Kong

Multidisciplinary artist Samson Young was trained as a composer and graduated with a PhD in Music Composition from Princeton University in 2013. His academic background in music has led him to incorporate elements of experimental music, sound studies, and site-specific performance into his art practice. He uses sound as a tool, cutting through the veil of the everyday to uncover ideologies and political propositions. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester, M+, the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, and elsewhere. His work has also been included in group exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; the Biennale of Sydney; the Shanghai Biennale; the National Museum of Art, Osaka; and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, Seoul; as well as in Documenta Radio for Documenta 14. He received the BMW Art Journey Award in 2015 and the Hong Kong Art Center Honorary Fellowship in 2018. In 2017, he represented Hong Kong at the Venice Biennale with a solo exhibition.

About M+
M+ is a museum dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and interpreting visual art, design and architecture, moving image, and Hong Kong visual culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, we are building one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world, with a bold ambition to establish ourselves as one of the world’s leading cultural institutions. Our aim is to create a new kind of museum that reflects our unique time and place, a museum that builds on Hong Kong’s historic balance of the local and the international to define a distinctive and innovative voice for Asia’s twenty-first century.

About the West Kowloon Cultural District
The West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest and most ambitious cultural projects in the world. Its vision is to create a vibrant new cultural quarter for Hong Kong on forty hectares of reclaimed land located alongside Victoria Harbour. With a varied mix of theatres, performance spaces, and museums, the West Kowloon Cultural District will produce and host world-class exhibitions, performances, and cultural events, providing twenty-three hectares of public open space, including a two-kilometre waterfront promenade.