15 Years Chinese Contemporary Art Award

Artists Zhou Tiehai、Zheng Guogu、Zhang Peili、Yan Lei、Yan Xing、Xu Zhen
Planner Lars Nittve、Li Zhenhua、Liu Lili、Li Xianting
Critic Zhu Zhu、Pauline J. Yao、Wang Chunchen、Venus Lau Sau Yee、Dong Bingfeng、Cui Cancan

About Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA)

The China Contemporary Art Award was founded in 1998 by Uli Sigg on the principles of fairness, independence and academic judgment. The award is operated through an independent, not-for-profit institution with the aim of encouraging highly talented Chinese artists and art critics who have produced outstanding work.

From the first artist award in 1998, a prize has been given every two years. Later on the CCAA began to award Best Artist, Best Young Artist and Outstanding Achievement prizes. The CCAA is now an important event on the Chinese art scene.

The CCAA benefits from the unique way its panel is chosen: each member is a director or curator from one of the world’s top institutions, and the panel is divided equally between Chinese and international members. For fifteen years, the CCAA has thoroughly promoted Chinese contemporary art on the world stage and made a major contribution to bringing Chinese artists onto the global art scene.

As contemporary art grows in China, strong support from public institutions will become the central pillar underpinning efforts to balance the market and guide the fast-growing public who are following or contributing to Chinese contemporary art. An art institution that is continually growing requires independent analysis and criticism; in order to highlight this, the CCAA held every two years formalized a system for itself in 2007.

Looking back over the past fifteen years, the CCAA has seen participation from more than 60 of some of the most talented judges both in China and internationally. The achievements of the nineteen winning artists and six critics chosen from close to a thousand entries have been recognized not only through the prize money and the honor of winning; the CCAA has also published 13 books and held three exhibitions.

About Exhibition

The fifteen years since the award was created have also seen Chinese contemporary art transform from a movement that was almost underground to something that is growing healthily. Chinese contemporary art has moved on from questions of artistic freedom to issues of media, individual expression and methods. The unique history of the CCAA provides much food for thought on the issue of Chinese contemporary art: how is the art form to be defined? On what basis should its standards be created? How great is the discrepancy between the internationalization of Chinese contemporary art and its traditional view of itself?These issues are all discussed during this exhibition.

Twenty-five artists and art critics have been awarded prizes by the CCAA over the past fifteen years. This exhibition displays more than fifty works by eighteen different winning artists, the largest museum showcase of the CCAA since its inception. The two core themes running through the exhibition are time and people, backed up by jury evidence, providing a comprehensive picture of where the CCAA has been seen in terms of Chinese contemporary art, in China and internationally, over the past fifteen years. The exhibition is a multi-faceted look at how individual artists have changed over time, in terms of their subjects and work, as well as a discussion of how they display their art. The CCAA is an important international award for Chinese contemporary art; the exhibition endeavors to demonstrate how the CCAA has approached and acted as the intermediary between Chinese and international contemporary art since its creation. The exhibition portrays how the CCAA has not lost touch and remained a serious undertaking that constantly encourages Chinese contemporary art either where there is great creativity but no platform to develop, and where artists and critics demonstrate a unique perspective. Throughout, the CCAA has been based on principles of fairness, independence and academic rigor.

At the same time, the exhibition has brought to light documents from throughout the history of the CCAA. The curatorial team sorted and analyzed the documents, taking key words, before creating a multimedia, interactive project that involved visitors as fully as possibly. This not only helped visitors to better understand the setup and operation of the award but was also a bridge to learning more about Chinese contemporary art. The connecting theme was a documentary which related events in the third person, focusing on the history of the CCAA and those involved with it, analyzing and reconstructing the past through a timeline and by looking at what the CCAA has achieved to date. The relationship between art and the public is the result of excellent artwork with a unique standpoint produced on the Chinese contemporary art scene as it has grown over the past fifteen years. The interplay between exhibition and visitor is also an opportunity for continued future growth; we hope that visitors will ponder and produce new ideas on art and society, inspired by the work on display. 

Installation Views