Since its establishment in 2012, Yishu 8 China Award has got great support from personages and gained recognition from the art community. When Guerlain joined with Prix Yishu 8 China Award 2017 to promote inheritance and innovation, a new partnership embarks on a new journey to explore art.
Yishu 8, a non-profit art center, was founded on the site of former Sino-French University in 2009. Over the years it has become a bridge connecting the two civilizations by carrying on democracy, freedom, equality and fraternity, the spirit of the university’s tenets. Yishu 8 China Award was started in 2011 as a non-profit residence project for Sino-French culture and art. It aims to support both Chinese and French artists by offering a platform for free creation and exhibition, thereby promoting exchanges in art between the two countries.
Over 189 years, Guerlain, originally exclusive to the French royals, has developed into an exquisite, ingenious, classical wonder with concerted effort its pioneering and innovative generations have made. In its pursuit of beauty, Guerlain has created one after another miracles in perfume, skin care and make-up. As a brand always in the course of constant exploration, innovation and perfection, it is widely acclaimed as a classical legend in cosmetics, distinguished for craftsmanship and cultured aesthetics. To Guerlain and Yishu 8, this event marks an important step in the promotion of the traditional spirit, a journey in art, and more importantly, valuable support to Sino-French culture and art.
With Chinese contemporary art changing beyond recognition over the last few years, the way we used to discuss it is losing its legitimacy. Its content and form, standard for the judgment of its value, its creator, audience, context and other factors are in constant change, becoming more complicate and “fine” at the same time. No longer something unitary or constant, contemporary art challenges any ready answer, as it has to be approached from a dynamic perspective. Its value and significance are sometimes regarded equivalent to their content and form, so our discussion has to be extended as well from contemporary art to its periphery, its relationship with the periphery, and of course all hinges on human being that is in its reach.
Normally there does not have to be a specific theme to run through a finalists exhibition like YISHU 8 Prize, but I decided to give it a title “As the Story Goes” after a close analysis of the three finalists’ works and the reality of art in our age and discussion with these artists. The works chosen for this exhibition are therefore centered on this topic which is to cover three parts: “The Story”, “Going” and “As the Story Goes”.
The Story: To me, it is another way of referring to contemporary art. Literally, it is context-based, interactive, changing and also integrated. The three finalists all build with their remarkable skills some contexts that can cover their works as a component or a link. In other words, these works do not make a whole unless what is invisible about them is included.
Going: It refers to the way artists choose to tell their stories and transform their experience into art. The way we embrace the world varies, and artists, who are involved in aesthetic treatment of the world, are all the more expected to have distinctive individuality and unique perspectives. On the basis of their own experience and emotion, the three artists, with unique psychological orientation, reveal their different understanding of art and life. Their transformation can be a kind of creation in that artists, in this case narrators, have to digest and convert what they see, hear and feel into “new stories” and share them with others.
As the Story Goes: It implies that what a work of art talks about also involves the viewers. With different target viewers, the three artists or expect to evoke more emotional response, or have involved the viewers in their art as active agent, or just leave their works to the congenial to appreciate, but they are all well aware that without involvement on the part of the viewers, there is little they could achieve. In contemporary art we may even say it is not a work of art if it fails to engage the viewers.
Our artists today seem to be enjoying the privilege of naming. It acquires a new sense the moment an artist gives it a new meaning, and the sense then becomes the equivalent of what you refer to. Only those who understand the implication can reach the work and penetrate the artist’s recess instead of taking an art work as it is. The finalists at this exhibition are all active on the contemporary art scene with distinctive “stories” and ways of “story-telling”.
YISHU 8 Prize since its foundation in 2012, has been committed to supporting and encouraging contemporary young artists in the form of exhibition, prize, residence program and lectures. As an important platform for Sino-French cultural exchange, YISHU 8 Prize also includes young French artists. Exchange exhibitions and residence projects between China and France have been making remarkable contributions to their common growth. Stressing the academic quality of the award, the exhibition organized a judging panel of experts, consisting artists, curators, critics, media persons, art patrons and museum directors. After recommendation and selection, Cao Yu, Hu Yinping and Zhang Ruyi became the finalists for 2017. The winner will be announced at the opening of the exhibition. We sincerely hope that YISHU 8 Prize will be a continued, sustained success and engage more young artists.
- Xia Yanguo, Curator and critic