A Survey on 2004 CCAA Jury
Director of 2004 CCAA
The establishment of Chinese contemporary art system has long been an enduring pursuit for many aspirants dedicated to the art industry. Without a wholesome system, it could be an overnight fever the Chinese contemporary art craze that booms internally in these years and wins a cult following in the West. Among all the social art institutions, museums, foundations, galleries, auctions, collection institutions, of course, the long-term support of the state’s policy of art plays a far more decisive role. In particular, the non-profit sponsorship, investment and related preferential policies are badly needed to secure a well-balanced, mild climate for the art ecosystem. And then it is possible to make maximal use of social resources, and accordingly, contemporary art can enjoy a sustainable development.
From 1990 onwards, Chinese contemporary art system hasn’t undergone, officially or unofficially, a sound growth. In spite of this, there are still many who are willing to dedicate themselves to the incubation and foundation of this undertaking. They are among others, artists, curators, collectors, and galleries, as well as friends from home and abroad. Historic and fundamental is the cause they are committed to. A sound organism won’t be available unless that said system is applied. In this way Chinese contemporary art will be in position to conduct the communication as well as the value exchange with local public, and it will find its own platform where it can steer a fair dialogue with international communities. In the recent years, Chinese contemporary art, with an even more popularized understanding of systemization, has been galloping on the professional and standardized super highway, and is regarded as the fresh blood in the next decade’s international art scene. Founded in 1998 by Uli sigg, the Chinese Contemporary Art Awards filled the blank that no relevant awards and institutes had ever existed before in China. though established y a foreigner, CCAA fortifies effectively and essentially the critical joint in the establishment of Chinese contemporary art.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of Uli sigg and some o=international curators from the jury, CCAA has been made an important event of contemporary art, calling great attention of Chinese artists especially the young generation. During the course of the first three editions, CCAA enacted a deal of scholarly programs, as the communication between the jury and the artists, visits to artists’ studios and the like. Through the attentive database building and academic survey, the event granted the curators and critics in the jury accesses to a close-up understanding of artists, and encouraged a number of gifted promising young artists to surface with more public concern and support. In the meanwhile, the Award reached its maturity with a well-established system and an ever-evolving approach which could provide artists rationally and fairly with efficient conditions.
The year 2004 saw the 4th edition of CCAA. According to the actuality of Chinese contemporary art, this edition gave some modifications and improvements to its operation and procedures in hope of gaining the knowledge of the actual situation, discovering young artists as well as sorting out artists with the most potentially influence. To this end, the Award abolished the application-form session which used to be accessible for the public, and set up instead new rules and procedures in accordance with the experiences obtained through the last three editions. this time, a pre-jury, with some a-list emerging curators in its lineup, nominated the candidates, conducted discussions, and drafted a shortlist for the jury.
The jury started the program in September 2003 right after Sigg had appointed the art director. Having referred to a great deal of advice, Uli Sigg determined to keep 1 overall prize, 1 Young Artist Prize (Only for the Artist Thirty Years Old or Younger) and a few honorable mention for CCAA 2004, and added a further achievement prize for honouring a mature and active artist who has frequently contributed a lot of art works to Chinese contemporary art.
Once the program was launched, the art director Gu Zhenqing recommended 4 other emerging curators, namely, Yang xinyi, Feng Boyi, Zhang Li and Li Xu, to form the pre-jury which through the discussion about the rules and methods agreed that each member should nominate 10 artists and collect related data for the final discussion. Though these curators were not familiar with then active figures, they set out to investigate and make the nominations out of their high sense of responsibility. After near half year’s work came out a list of 40 artists-ruled out the repetitions-which covered a group of most noted artists in years. And eventually the jury of CCAA received a strictly screened shortlist of 22 artists together with the detailed data and recommendation texts on each artist written by the pre-jury members.
In the early of May, 2004, the jury of CCAA 2004 had a conference in Switzerland. Having listened to the review and opinions of the pre-jury’s work given by the director Gu Zhengqing, Ai Weiwei, Uli sigg, Alanna Heiss, Harald Szeemann and Hou Hanru as the jury members digested the video, pictures and texts on the 22 artists together with the detailed data and recommendation texts on each artist written by the pre-jury members.
And later, Uli Sigg, as the founder of CCAA, held press conference separately at Grand Hyatt Hotel, Beijing and Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art where he announced the winners of CCAA 2004 and shed light on the concept of CCAA. The procedures and outcomes rendered CCAA another high-profile act in Chinese contemporary art scene, drawing local attention to the contemporary art scene, drawing local attention to the contemporary art and sparking repercussion in the international realm of art.
From the end of 2004 till 2005, the 4th edition of the Award reached its final phase. Through the editorial work, a publication will be issued in an effort to show the jury’s work and eight artists’ thoughts and their current states. It includes the interviews with artists made by members in the pre-jury and almost all the judges contributed essays to this publication. And with the editorial work and this publication, the Award hopes to promote the image and position of Chinese contemporary art in the globe.
Now CCAA is producing its influence and providing a vivid profile of the current context of Chinese contemporary art from which the international and local societies can understand artists’ attitudes, their positions, the values of their creative work as well as the social criticism and cultural rethinking in their art. In reality, the works of some established artists have been made the part of the history of Chinese contemporary art.