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21 Sept 2023

M+ presents Sigg Prize 2023 exhibition, celebrating outstanding artistic practices from the Greater China region with works of six shortlisted artists

M+ Sigg Prize 2023_KV_1200x750

M+ presents Sigg Prize 2023 exhibition, celebrating outstanding artistic practices from the Greater China region with works of six shortlisted artists

M+, Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, is pleased to present the Sigg Prize 2023 exhibition. The exhibition will open to public free of charge from Saturday, 23 September 2023 at the Main Hall Gallery.

Established by M+ in 2018, the Sigg Prize was formerly the Chinese Contemporary Art Award, founded by Dr Uli Sigg in China in 1998. The Sigg Prize is a biennial award recognising important artistic practices in Greater China. Open to artists born or working in the region, it aims to highlight and promote diverse works on an international scale.

The Sigg Prize 2023 exhibition brings together works by six shortlisted artists: Jes Fan, Miao Ying, Wang Tuo, Xie Nanxing, Trevor Yeung, and Yu Ji. Their presentations touch on pertinent issues and contemporary topics of everyday life, which include responses to the disruption bought on by the COVID-19 global pandemic. With their takes on cultural kinship, Jes Fan and Trevor Yeung highlight experiences of isolation and interior trauma, which are closely tied to changes in social and institutional systems. Xie Nanxing and Yu Ji look for balance between vulnerability and resilience through their painting and sculptural practices. Drawn to the interconnection of past, present, and future, Wang Tuo and Miao Ying explore ways to evaluate history and the contemporary moment.

  • Jes Fan’s multi-chapter project Sites of Wounding uses concepts of non-human organisms and ecosystems to explore the relationship between species and kinship. In Sites of Wounding: Chapter 2 (2023), Fan creates a video featuring agarwood, an endangered incense tree native to Hong Kong. He traces agarwood’s connection to the city, once a trading hub for incense, while untangling the roots of Hong Kong’s name, which translates into ‘fragrant harbour’.

  • Miao Ying’s Pilgrimage into Walden XII (2019–2023) is a three-chapter live simulation of a future human world governed by artificial intelligence. A medieval fantasy land built on Walden XII, a game engine, the simulation uses a system that makes every rendering a unique outcome with machine learning.

  • In Wang Tuo’s film project The Northeast Tetralogy (2018–2021), he stages similar fates for his protagonists, who occupy different time periods across four chapters. These films blend historical and fictional events to offer perspectives on how we evaluate histories that seem to keep repeating.

  • Living a socially restricted life during the pandemic, Xie Nanxing created a triptych painting conveying humour and the absurd. The Ballad of Pieter Picking His Teeth (2022) expresses Xie’s pandemic-induced malaise and dissatisfaction with the world’s environmental neglect.

  • Inspired by the experience of crossing borders at the height of the pandemic, Trevor Yeung created a set of works, including The Queue (2023), recalling the isolation and anxiety many have undergone while in quarantine. This presentation conveys Yeung's practice of capturing the nuances of human emotion through shifting surroundings and his own experience.

  • Yu Ji often uses industrial materials such as concrete and steel to examine the impact of the social environment on individual existence. In her presentation, Jaded Ribs (2019) is a large, rib-shaped hammock concealing locally collected industrial debris. Other sculptures from her Flesh in Stone series look like fragmented body parts depicting the many faces of modern urban dwellers and their fatigue and struggle.

To mark the exhibition opening, M+ is hosting an opening ceremony today with the attendance of Bernard Chan, Chairman of the M+ Board; Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+ and Chairwoman of the Sigg Prize; members of the Sigg Prize 2023 jury and the shortlisted artists; Doryun Chong, Deputy Director, Curatorial and Chief Curator, M+; and Isabella Tam, Curator, Visual Art, M+.

Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+ and Chairwoman of the Sigg Prize, underscores the importance of the prize for the development of contemporary art in the region: ‘A cornerstone of M+, the Sigg Prize provides a platform for celebrating and introducing artists from Greater China to a broad audience. This edition of the prize is especially meaningful as it addresses the urgent issues of the environment and sustainability, history and the most recent collective experiences of a global pandemic.’

Isabella Tam, Curator, Visual Art, M+ and curator of the Sigg Prize 2023 exhibition, discusses the show’s pertinence in our current time: ‘From the COVID-19 pandemic and changing geopolitical climate to the evolution of artificial intelligence, the shortlisted artists aim to bring conversations about contemporary issues we are facing to a wider audience. The exhibition gives voice to artists at the forefront of contemporary art in the region, while giving a glimpse into the insightful dialogues taking place in this part of the world.’

During the opening, Hong Kong-based Japanese artist Ryo Ikeshiro will carry out a sound performance which manifests different facets of the living experience in Hong Kong, from the clamour of the city to the quietness of abandoned sites and the natural sound of the environment as well as their digital abstraction mediated by technology. The performance shows the city has been a source of inspiration for artists working in this part of the world.

M+ will also hold Sigg Prize 2023 Finalists in Conversation, a panel discussion taking place at Grand Stair on Saturday, 23 September 2023 at 15:00. The six shortlisted artists will discuss their practices and upcoming projects with Isabella Tam, Curator, Visual Art, M+ and Ariadne Long, Assistant Curator,Visual Art, M+. The free talk will be held in English and Mandarin, with simultaneous interpretation available in Cantonese, English, and Mandarin. Please refer to the M+ website for more event details.

Exhibition details

Sigg Prize 2023 exhibition is curated by Isabella Tam, Curator, Visual Art, M+, assisted by Ariadne Long, Assistant Curator, Visual Art, M+, and Chloe Wong, Curatorial Assistant, M+.

Period: 23 September 2023 – 14 January 2024

Location: Main Hall Gallery

Free admission

Members of the jury

Maria Balshaw (Director, Tate, United Kingdom)*

Bernard Blistène (former Director, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2013–2021)

Gong Yan (Director, Power Station of Art, Shanghai)

Glenn D. Lowry (Director, Museum of Modern Art, New York)*

Suhanya Raffel (Museum Director, M+, Hong Kong)

Dr Uli Sigg (collector and member of the M+ Board, Switzerland)

Xu Bing (artist, Beijing)

* Polly Staple (Director of Collection, British Art, Tate, United Kingdom) and Stuart Comer (The Lonti Ebers Chief Curator of Media and Performance, Museum of Modern Art, New York) served in place of Maria Balshaw and Glenn D. Lowry respectively for the second jury meeting in September 2023.

The Supporting Sponsor of Sigg Prize 2023 exhibition is Hublot. The exhibition’s Travel Partner is Cathay and its Hotel Partner is Rosewood Hong Kong.

Members of the Sigg Prize jury will select one winner among the six shortlisted artists based on the exhibition presentations during the exhibition. The final result of Sigg Prize 2023 will be announced in early 2024.

About the artists

Jes Fan

Jes Fan (b. 1990, Canada) is a Hong Kong and Brooklyn-based artist who was raised in Hong Kong. He frequently employs organic materials and other components that invoke the body to explore the possibilities of nature and animacy. In his biomorphic forms and tactile sculptures, Fan places the visual elements of human skin—something biological and living—alongside the cold and clinical instruments of a laboratory to evoke visceral responses from his viewers. Throughout his practice, Fan examines complex ideas of sexuality, gender, race, and species to challenge oppositional concepts and binary thinking.

Miao Ying

Miao Ying (b. 1985, Shanghai) is a new media artist based in New York and Shanghai. She is known for projects and works that address Chinese internet culture—a complex and hyperregulated realm, which she calls the ‘Chinternet’. Her recent practice incorporates machine learning live simulation and often takes the forms of websites and installations to explore technology and its impacts on our daily lives, while highlighting new modes of politics, aesthetics, and consciousness created by representation of reality through technology.

Wang Tuo

Wang Tuo (b. 1984, Jilin) lives and works in Beijing. His films combine the forms and techniques of interviews, reality shows, and theatre to create a sense of melodrama that can move his viewers. Wang tells the stories of our contemporary experience, often employing literary and art-historical allusions to expose the humorous and sometimes absurd aspects of society. He examines how our lives, myths, and cultural histories tend to intertwine in complex and ever-evolving ways. His practice also develops a discourse on how current ideologies are derived from historical contexts and how they adapt to changing times.

Xie Nanxing

Xie Nanxing (b. 1970, Sichuan) splits his time between Beijing and Chengdu. His radical and experimental approach to painting challenges the traditions and conventions of the medium taught within art schools. He develops intertextuality in his works: the texts, patterns, and layered paint appear like mystical meetings between the painter and his subject. This relationship did not originally exist and requires the viewer’s participation to be realised. Xie is interested in psychology and often turns to investigative psychology to question the true nature of things in his practice.

Trevor Yeung

Trevor Yeung (b.1988, Guangdong) lives and works in Hong Kong. His art excavates the inner logic of human relations. Fascinated by botanic ecology and horticulture, his mixed media work features carefully staged objects, photographs, animals, and plants as aesthetic pretexts to address notions of artificial nature. Yeung often projects emotional and intellectual scenarios onto living components in his work, translating his own social experiences into elaborate fables through which he continues to explore failure and imperfection. Yeung ultimately questions how closed systems contain and create emotional and behavioural conditions.

Yu Ji

Yu Ji (b. 1985, Shanghai) creates installations, videos, and performances that take medium and materiality as starting points to create her own visual language rooted in form, objects, humanity, and the everyday. Featuring the cast of a limb or the outline of a body part, the sculptures at the heart of Yu’s practice are amorphous anatomical objects, sensitive yet weighty, evoking an almost eerie sense of mechanical disengagement, as if a human body had been created and pilfered. Yu is a skilled narrator of complex relationships between people and things, life and death, the present and the past. Encountering her work is a physical experience that sparks memories and ineffable associations, prompting viewers to revisit the relations between space, body, time, and their own historicity.

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, it is 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. M+ is 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.

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