UCCA - Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing

ULLENS CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART | 798 Art District, No.4 Jiuxianqiao Lu
100015 Beijing

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artists & participants

press release

Announced in January and first presented in September at Shanghai Bund 18, the 2008 Chinese Contemporary Art Awards exhibition opened on Saturday, November 8th at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. The exhibition features important recent works by the 2008 CCAA award winning artists: Liu Wei, Tseng Yu-Chin, and Ai Weiwei.

The Chinese Contemporary Art Awards were founded by Uli Sigg in 1997 as a nonprofit entity to enhance the position of Chinese contemporary art both domestically and internationally. With the growth of the art market in the ensuing decade, the purpose of the awards has shifted to emphasize a critical position on the conversation over what constitutes meaningful art in current Chinese production. In the words of Uli Sigg, "The market is today the dominant force to validate artworks. To balance and enrich this debate, an institution such as the CCAA plays an important role." The awards offer a platform for artists to become recognized on the world stage and to allow foreign curators to identify some of the most interesting art in greater China.

''We are really proud to present CCAA at UCCA. In showing the 2008 award winning artists, UCCA is committed to the future of Chinese art and recognizes its value beyond market forces'' said Jerome Sans, UCCA Director.

Liu Wei, Tseng Yu-Chin, Ai Weiwei, were selected by a jury committee consisting of Hou Hanru, Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and Chair of Exhibitions and Museum Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute; Ken Lum, Canadian artist of Chinese heritage who has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, enjoyed a career in education, and has participated in many major exhibitions; Gu Zhenqing, curator and critic in charge of the recently opened gallery Li Space; Chris Dercon, Director of the Haus der Kunst in Munich; Ruth Noack, curator of Documenta 12; Huang Du, independent curator and critic who co-curated the sixth Shanghai Biennale; and Uli Sigg, founder of CCAA. These esteemed critics, artists, and curators took as their criteria the display of original and unique talent in artistic creation. This criteria will help stimulate debates over the concept of artistic value in the currently booming art market. The exhibition of the winning artists' works is accompanied by a publication written by Pauline Yao, who received the newly-established Chinese Contemporary Art Award for independent art criticism in 2008.

Liu Wei, born in 1972 and based in Beijing, who was recognized with the Best Artist award, challenges the limitations of experience and the standard of discourse implied by the language of international contemporary art. His installation and conceptual artworks have achieved great success in terms of representing China in the international art scene. In his experiments, he continually revises his system of artistic production and methodically interrogates that which most artists take for granted. He has shaken our understandings of both the definition of contemporary art and the role played by the exhibition in this system. Liu Wei does not fear failure, and often begins again after unsatisfactory projects. In this way, he gestures towards a future beyond the current boom in the Chinese art market against a background of global production and consumption.

Tseng Yu-Chin, born in 1978 and based in Taipei, is recognized with the Best Young Artist award, creates work characterized by a deep and subtle humanism. He is largely concerned with the role of the individual in the context of a changing contemporary society, especially in terms of the perceived demise of traditional configurations of community and family; his practice, however, is also filled with hope and redemption. His films and videos are in turns compassionate and voyeuristic, pushing depiction of his subjects almost to a point of representational crisis. In this way, he pays homage to the pioneering video art of Zhang Peili while developing towards a unique aesthetic voice. These pieces often appear as video vignettes borrowed from a particular model of Taiwanese cinema, allowing his work to act as a bridge between the changing modernities of mainland China and Taiwan.

Ai Weiwei, born in 1957 and based in Beijing, is recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Perhaps no artist has mirrored the volatile and challenging history of Chinese contemporary art more deeply and accurately than Ai Weiwei. His work has transcended the category of contemporary art and penetrated the very heart of Chinese society, engaging with China's complex social and political dynamics and contributing to its radically changing architectural and designed spaces. His multivalent contributions have made Ai Weiwei a reference point for any student who desires to gain an understanding of the present situation of Chinese contemporary art and culture.

"These exhibitions and this book will shed more light on the winning artists Liu Wei, Tseng Yu-Chin, and Ai Weiwei. They were selected in a very intense jury meeting and they deserve all the attention the CCAA book and exhibitions can create!" -Uli Sigg

The CCAA 2008 exhibition is sponsored by UBS.

Ullens Center For Contemporary Art 798 District, No.4 Jiuxianqiao Lu Beijing, P.R.China, 100015
 Tel:+ 86 10 8459 9269 Fax:+86 10 8459 9717

Chinese Contemporary
Art Awards (CCAA) 2008 Exhibition
Liu Wei, Tseng Yu-Chin, Ai Weiwei