A partnership between the Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Foundation and the Singapore Art Museum, the triennial APB Foundation Signature Art Prize saw its fourth edition earlier in May. The prize acknowledges outstanding works that have been produced over the previous three years and underlines the best contemporary art from the Asia-Pacific rim to Central Asia. This years nominations consisted of 113 artworks from 46 countries and territories, out of which 15 were shortlisted by a distinguished panel of international art experts. The award winners were announced on 29 June 2018.
Us at The Artling share our top 5 picks from this year's instalment:
5. Yuichiro Tamura, Milky Bay/裏切りの海 (2016)
Using parts of sculpture, found objects and videos, Tamura surveys notions of the image against the body. This work consists of several narratives that reference incidents in relation to post-war history where we are able to distinguish motifs of the body to that of prominent male physiques. Reaching into themes of fragmented imagery and memory, references include a murder case from 2009 where dismembered bodies washed up at sea near Yokohama. Other modes of representations include male voices, bottle ships, and surprisingly, billiard tables.
4. Gede Mahendra Yasa, After Paradise Lost #1 (2014)
Yasa portrays an intricate and extraordinarily detailed imaginary universe in this painting. Teeming with depictions of everyday Balinese life alongside the artist’s interpretations of renowned paintings from both Western and Indonesian art history, this painting seeks to serve as a political analogy where society and its masses are broken down regardless of stature.
3. The Propeller Group, AK-47 vs. M16
Vietnamese-American artist collective The Propeller Group recreate the one-in-a-billion chance of two bullets colliding, shot from opposite sides of battle. The weapons of choice expose the basis of the war, as AK-47s were invented by the Soviets and M16 served as the brainchild of the American army throughout the 20th century. Ballistics gel is seen reverberating violently as the two bullets enter it, simulating the consistency of flesh recoiling and flailing upon impact. This piece aims to make aware the abominable scale of wartime and political destructiveness, whilst shedding light on themes of distance and space.
2. Leung Chi Wo + Sara Wong, Museum of the Lost and He was Lost Yesterday and we found him Today (2015)
With unidentifiable subjects arranged in the form of staged photographs, Hong Kong-based husband-and-wife duo sought to intensify presentations of minor characters suppressed over the course of history. The usage of personal archival material exposes a certain biasness of historical representation, and how subjectivity lies at the hands of the creator. The dramatic nature of carefully curated costumes, props and site contrasts the lack of facial identities, yet showcases indisputably vibrant and bewitching characters that we could not take our eyes off.
1. Mata Aho Collective, Kaokao #1 (2014)
Constructed with high-visibility tape fabricated from a form of Māori weaving, this dramatic installation depicts a chevron-shaped design called a kaokao. Its traditional tukutuku lattice pattern is notable; whilst the weaving process makes prominent the performative nature necessary in the threading of material between two people in order to produce this construction.
While the chevron is commonly interpreted as a military symbol, such a kaokao pattern attributes a warrior’s strength in the eyes of the Māori. In the instance of this installation, Mata Aho re-contextualizes a material customary to male dominated industries and places it within a female-centric trajectory so as to conjure the unseen labour of women.
The Signature Art Prize 2018 winners
Grand Prize winner:
Phan Thao Nguyen, Tropical Siesta (Vietnam)
Juror’s Choice Awards winners:
Thasnai Sethaseree, Untitled (Hua Lamphong) (Thailand)
Shubigi Rao, Pulp - A Short Biography of the Banished Book. Vol 1 Written in the Margins (Singapore)
People's Choice Award winner:
Gede Mahendra Yasa, After Paradise Lost #1, (Indonesia)
The Signature Art Prize finalists will be on show at the National Museum Singapore until September 2nd.
For more information, click here.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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