Prudential Eye Awards: Winning Artists

Singapore, 18 January 2014

Daniel Crooks (digital/video), Ben Quilty (painting), Jompet Kuswidananto (installation), Trent Parke (photography) and Seoung Wook Sim (sculpture) were announced today, 18 January 2014, as winners of the Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art 2014. Each was awarded a prize of US$20,000 at an awards ceremony at Suntec City, Singapore.

Ben Quilty was named as the overall winner for the Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art 2014, receiving a further US$30,000 and the opportunity to hold a solo exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, London, in the summer of 2014. His rich impasto paintings of bold and unsettling subjects explore the problematic relationship between the personal and the cultural.

The internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Liu Xiaodong was honoured for his contribution to contemporary Asian art with an award sponsored by Audemars Piguet. The Singapore Biennale took the prize for exhibition of the year sponsored by Skira and Galerie Chandan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was recognised as the most promising Asian gallery for its pioneering work.

The Prudential Singapore Young Artist Award presented by Prudential Singapore and the British Council recognised shortlisted young artists from LASALLE College of the Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts across five categories. James John Dycoco from NAFA was named overall winner for his photographic work.

The awards ceremony was attended by the shortlisted artists, judges, celebrated artist Liu Xiaodong, leading curators, gallerists, art world figures and business leaders.

Over 500 nominations for the Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art came from 30 countries throughout greater Asia. The Awards celebrate and recognise artistic talent from greater Asia across digital/video, installation, painting, photography and sculpture, and offer a platform to showcase contemporary Asian artists. The work of all 20 shortlisted artists has been brought together in an exhibition at Suntec City that will run until 5 February 2014.

The judging panel for the Prudential Eye Awards included Serenella Ciclitira, Founder, Parallel Contemporary Art; Andreї Erofeev, independent curator and critic; Sir David Green, former Director-General, British Council; Tan Boon Hui, Group Director, Programmes Group, National Heritage Board of Singapore; Nigel Hurst, CEO, Saatchi Gallery; Lee Young Hye, President and Publisher of DESIGNHOUSE Inc. and Creative Director, Gwangju Design Biennale; and Nick Mitzevich, Director, Art Gallery of Southern Australia.

Serenella Ciclitira, Founder, Parallel Contemporary Art said:

“So much exciting work is being produced in Asia and it is our aim to show the world the diversity and dynamism of contemporary Asian art. Hopefully the awards will broaden our understanding of the talent in the region.”

Nigel Hurst, CEO, Saatchi Gallery and panellist judge said:

“On behalf of my fellow judges I would like to congratulate the winners of the Eye Awards for making such exceptional art. I would especially like to congratulate Ben Quilty and we look forward to showing his work at the Saatchi Gallery later this year.”

Tomas Urbanec, CEO, Prudential Singapore, added on the Prudential Singapore Young Artist Award:

“The Prudential Singapore Young Artist Award was conceived to celebrate and recognise some of Singapore’s most talented contemporary young artists. The standard of work has been outstanding and is testament to the quality of two of Singapore’s leading arts colleges, LASALLE and NAFA, who have participated in the Award’s inaugural year. In line with Prudential’s commitment to supporting local communities through education, we look forward to growing this Award further in the coming years.’’

The Prudential Eye Awards were founded by the Global Eye Programme, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting and nurturing Asian artists, established by Parallel Contemporary Art in collaboration with the Saatchi Gallery. Prudential is the title sponsor of the Awards, having supported Indonesian Eye (2011) and Hong Kong Eye (2013) exhibitions, and Malaysian Eye (coming soon in March 2014). To date, the Global Eye Programme has held 17 exhibitions worldwide and been viewed by over two million people.

The Prudential Eye Awards 2014 winners are:

Digital / Video
Daniel Crooks
Born in 1973 in Hastings, New Zealand and currently living in Melbourne, Daniel Crooks is a multidisciplinary artist whose videos and photographic projects manipulate the elements of digital video. Using a ‘slice’ of an image or frame of a video, Crooks stretches and distorts reality, making the image pause and warp. Cityscapes are presented as a mind altering experience through the passing of time, whilst transforming our perception of reality.

Jompet Kuswidananto
Indonesian artist Jompet Kuswidananto makes multimedia installations that often combine video, sound and mechanized elements. A self-taught artist who trained as a musician, Kuswidananto creates ghostly brigades of bodiless figures delineated only by empty pairs of boots and fragments of ceremonial military costumes. Objects such as drum kits periodically crack out a sharp, hollow percussion. His practice investigates the complex history of Indonesia reflecting the dramatic pace of cultural, social and political change that has engulfed their nation since the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998. Kuswidananto focuses on the realities and complexities of contemporary life in an increasingly globalised and interconnected world. His work presents a unique take on these political and social movements by creating a sense of play. Kuswidananto’s work was also featured in the Indonesian Eye exhibition organised by Parallel Contemporary Art with support from Prudential in 2011.

Painting and Overall Winner
Ben Quilty
Smeared, smudged, caked and slapped onto the picture plane with bold virtuosity, Ben Quilty’s works challenge assumptions. Iconic imagery, animated by a textural third dimension, also becomes a vehicle for meditations on the potency of painting. Rather, their powerful and irresistible effect continues painting’s noble tradition as an antidote to complacency.

Trent Parke
Born 1971, Newcastle, N.S.W. and currently living in Adelaide. During the early years of his career, Trent Parke worked as a press photojournalist before embarking on his creative photography practice. In 2003 and 2004 he documented his journey around Australia over a two-year period, examining 'the current and changing state of the Australian nation,' capturing the mood of a still young and emerging nation. His later series includes The Christmas Tree Bucket, Welcome to Nowhere and Please step quietly everyone can hear you, a behind-the-
scenes documentary series from the Sydney Opera House which revealed Parke’s characteristic originality and imagination.

Sculpture (sponsored by David and Serenella Ciclitira)
Seoung Wook Sim
Born in 1972 and currently living in Seoul, Seoung Wook Sim describes landscapes, figures, natives, and constructions through his work. Wook Sim’s dark and sublime sculptures record unusual journeys to different domains and are detailed representations of a world created in his imagination.

Additional awards were presented across the following categories:

Audemars Piguet Outstanding Contribution to Contemporary Asian Art
Liu Xiaodong
This special award was presented to Liu Xiaodong for his contribution to contemporary art. Liu Xiaodong is one of China’s foremost artists and a painter of international stature. Born to factory worker parents in Jincheng, northern China in 1963, he trained at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts where he now works as a professor. His career has been defined by an unparalleled dedication to the chronicling of humanity – living day-to-day on-site with the subjects of his paintings. Liu Xiaodong paints ‘en plein air’, introducing performative and participatory dimensions to his practice. The scale of his projects often matches that of film-making, with elaborate location development work and semi-intuitive story-boarding chronicled in detailed project diaries. Through a number of significant solo exhibitions in museums and major international art galleries, Liu Xiaodong has contributed significantly to the worldwide understanding and appreciation of art from Asia.

Skira International Asian Art Exhibition of the Year
Singapore Biennale 2013
The ambitious fourth Singapore Biennale, open until 16 February, focusses on artists in Southeast Asia. Radically collaborative in its approach, it brings together the work of 82 artists selected by 27 curators. An array of installation and site-specific projects are presented through the diverse viewpoints of various curators influenced by a shared cultural identity of the region. With focal points across the city and participating cultural institutions including the Singapore Art Museum (SAM), SAM at 8Q, Fort Canning Park, Waterloo Centre, the National Museum of Singapore, The Peranakan Museum, the National Library and Singapore Management University, it takes on a socio-environmental tone, asking artists to respond to changing environments as well as to imagine different futures under the theme “If the World Changed.” The Biennale has been bold it its approach, commissioning nearly half of the artworks and creating dialogues between established and emerging artists. Contemporary themes such as cultural identity, tradition, global warming, labour conditions, environmental destruction and political unrest, offer fresh perspective on topical issues faced by both Southeast Asia and the rest of the world.

START Most Promising Asian Gallery
Galerie Chandan
Located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Galerie Chandan is a unique multi-disciplinary art gallery and project space which, since its establishment six years ago, has showcased the work of over 100 artists. Aside from programming ambitious exhibitions and offering project space for artists, the gallery has also pioneered a number of notable industry ‘ecosystem’ projects which include the biannual Malaysian Emerging Artist Award and The Kembara Jiwa Project, which introduces Malaysian contemporary art to the world. Galeri Chandan has set up its own art residency program for South East Asian artists based in Indonesia and a creative consulting arm, Artistic Minds, which specialises in curated built environments. Galerie Chandan is an alternative art space far from conventional and through its disciplined curatorial approach and its pursuit to discover new artists and present cutting-edge work, it has helped raise awareness of Malaysian art internationally.

Prudential Singapore Young Artist Award
James John Dycoco
Recognition was also given to the wealth of local young artistic talent within Singapore’s leading art schools; LASALLE College of the Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). The Prudential Singapore Young Artist Award provided individual prizes to shortlisted artists and James John Dycoco from NAFA was named overall winner for his photographic work.

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