I am curious about how judging standards differed between the Huayu Youth Award and the recently inaugurated M+ Sigg Prize (winner will be announced in March 2020). Most of the time, an assessment is made on relative merits of an artist and his artistic practice, without corresponding attention and criticality on the process of submission and the quality of information that is being collected on the artist. This makes for an interesting discussion.

“A debate over the purpose and practices of art prizes has rippled through the art scene in China, after a jury of art professionals decided that none of the ten emerging artists in the running for the seventh annual Huayu Youth Award, for artists under 35 years of age, were deserving of the grand prize. The artists shortlisted for the award were Chen Yiyun, Doreen Chan, Chu Bingchao, Vivian Xiaoshi Qin, Wang Haiyang, Pei-Hsuan Wang, Xin Wei, Hsu Che-Yu, Yao Qingmei, and Isaac Chong Wai....

...M+ Sigg collection curator, Pi Li, stated that the jury had chosen two artists but declined to award either of them the Jury Prize. Instead the jury awarded two Special Jury Prizes to Hsu Che-Yu and Pei-Hsuan Wang, because ‘their works are the best in terms of visual meaning, live presentation, and effective communication of ideas,’ according to Pi Li’s statement. At the ceremony, Pi Li said the difference between the two prizes is that: ‘We give an artist a ‘Special Jury Prize’ based on apparent congruence between conceptualization and creation of a work as well as its completeness. On the other hand, the ‘Jury Prize’ is awarded on this basis, and in addition to this, to someone who can adopt a new method or attitude that displays the new definition of the relationship between art and reality, or perhaps even foresee certain aspects of the future.’

...In the same statement, Pi Li elaborated that within the ten artists’ presentations, the jury found, ‘ ‘symptoms’ and ‘tremors’ that may foreshadow new things, and we still need time to wait for the complexity in these exhibitions to develop and improve, so that art can release greater capabilities and newer methods. However, the ‘new’ and the ‘different’ are not of the same quality, and in order for the ‘different’ to become the ‘new,’ some additional processes are needed.’”

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