Sep 24 2021

Lift Off: Weekly News Roundup

by The Editors
IŞIK KAYA, Untitled I from Second Nature, 2020, digital print, 30 × 21 cm. Courtesy the artist and Sharjah Art Foundation.
IŞIK KAYA, Untitled I from Second Nature, 2020, digital print, 30 × 21 cm. Courtesy the artist and Sharjah Art Foundation.

Sharjah Art Foundation Launches New Photo Prize

On September 18, Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) named Işık Kaya, Devashish Gaur, Reyad Abedin, and Khadija El-Abyad as the winners of its inaugural photo prize at the opening of the annual Vantage Point Sharjah 9 (VPS9) exhibition dedicated to photography. The jury of photographers Ammar Al Attar, Sham Enbashi, Alia Al Shamsi, and M’hammed Kilito selected the winners from more than 500 entries in four categories. In conceptual photography, Kaya won for her Second Nature project, depicting cell towers camouflaged as trees in California; Gaur’s This Is the Closest We Will Get, in the experimental category, examines the intergenerational gap with a grandfather he never met; Abedin won for photojournalism and documentary with images that documented displacement forced by ecological and socio-political disasters in Dhaka from the series The Name of My City is Dust, Smoke and Life and In Search of Lost Tune; and, in the staged photography group, El-Abyad’s Défilé de l’intime situates the female body in nature and explores the sense of intimacy with a focus on hair. Featuring more than 200 photos by 53 photographers from 30 countries, VSP9 is currently on view until December 18.

Exterior view of ST / SongEun Building, Seoul. Copyright Jihyun Jung. Courtesy SongEun Art and Cultural Foundation, Seoul.

SongEun Art and Cultural Foundation Debuts New Building

The new home of the ST International Corporation and SongEun Art and Cultural Foundation will officially open in Seoul on September 28. Located in Cheongdam Dong in the upscale Gangnam district, the ST / SongEun Building is the first project by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron in South Korea, and contains a mix of gallery spaces, offices, and public areas. The concrete exterior of the triangular-shaped building features the texture of its wooden forms, referring to the name “SongEun,” which means “hidden pine tree” in Korean. The site will be inaugurated by a collaborative show with Herzog & de Meuron, followed by the exhibition of the 21st edition of the SongEun Art Award, which is set to open on December 10. 

Exterior view of M+, Hong Kong. Copyright Kevin Mak. Courtesy Herzog & de Meuron.

Han Nefkens Foundation Offers New Prize for Asian Artists

The Barcelona-based Han Nefkens Foundation has teamed up with the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), M+ (Hong Kong), and the Singapore Art Museum to offer a USD 100,000 commission for a new moving-image work that will be shown at each of the institutions. The Moving Image Commission 2021 is aimed at artists from Asia aged 35 and above who have not yet featured in a large institutional exhibition; the selected artist will have 18 months to complete the new work. The directors of the three museums—Mami Kataoka, Suhanya Raffel, and Eugene Tan, respectively—along with Han Nefkens will select the winner, who is slated to be announced in early October.

Portrait of AJLAN GHAREM in front of Paradise Has Many Gates (2015). Photo by Abdullah Almusharraf. Courtesy Art Jameel.

Ajlan Gharem Wins Jameel Prize 6

On September 15, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) announced multidisciplinary artist Ajlan Gharem as the recipient of the biennial Jameel Prize 6 for his monumental architectural installation Paradise Has Many Gates (2015), which is a galvanized steel wire cage in the shape of a traditional mosque, demonstrating both the sense of imprisonment and transparency. In the first themed edition of the prize for artworks that celebrate Islamic tradition, Gharen’s installation was selected from over 400 submissions. He will receive a cash prize of GBP 25,000 (USD 34,200) and the installation is currently on view at “Jameel Prize: Poetry to Politics,” at the V&A until November 28, alongside the work of the seven other finalists, from India, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

PATJU PRESLEY, Ilpili, 2021, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 137 × 200 cm. Courtesy Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne.

Melbourne Art Fair Will Return in 2022

On September 21, the organizers of Melbourne Art Fair (MAF) released the list of participants for its next edition, slated to open at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from February 17 to 20 in 2022. More than 50 galleries from the region will participate, including ten young spaces established after 2016 and several first-time participants, such as Moore Contemporary (Perth), The Egg & Dart (Thirroul), and Yavuz Gallery (Sydney / Singapore). The fair also invited five Indigenous centers supported by MAF’s Indigenous Art Centre Program. An artistic program under the theme of “Djeembana/Place” will feature special experimental projects, panel discussions, video screenings, and performances. Along with the physical events, the online platform MAF Virtual will help galleries connect with a global audience, and will be accessible through March 3, 2022. 

Exterior view of Shepparton Art Museum (SAM). Photo by John Gollings. Courtesy SAM.

Victoria Welcomes New Regional Art Museum

The Shepparton Art Museum (SAM), Australia’s new public art museum in northern Victoria, will open on November 20, 2021. Designed by architects Denton Corker Marshall, the exterior of the five-story building is covered by L-shape plates that resemble traditional Australian verandas. The 5,300-square-meter cultural site will include four main galleries, a visitors’ information center, the Kaiela Arts Aboriginal community arts center, an outdoor amphitheater, a cafe, and an outdoor area merged into the nearby park. Funded by the local council, the government, and public support through the SAM foundation, the museum will house over 4,000 artworks. Details of the inaugural program are still forthcoming.

Photo of RYUICHI SAKAMOTO performing at Park Avenue Armory, New York in 2017. Copyright Da Ping Luo. Courtesy Park Avenue Armory.

Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Show Canceled

The long-awaited collaborative performance dis·play by Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto and digital artist Shiro Takatani, scheduled for December 2021, was called off due to Sakamoto’s health condition. Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) made the announcement on September 23. Originally scheduled for April 2020 at West Kowloon Freespace, the show features Sakamoto playing his 2017 album async, with visual compositions designed by Takatani, who is also the founder of the art group Dumb Type. Due to the pandemic, the show had already been postponed twice. In 2014, Sakamoto was diagnosed with throat cancer, which was treated in the following year, but in January, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. 

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4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art CHRISTIE"S Opera Gallery Silverlens SAM KUKJE GALLERY