29 Exhibition view of Prix YISHU 8 Chine 2016

At 4:30 pm on March 19, 2016, “Prize YISHU 8 · China Finalist Exhibition and Awards Ceremony” was held in the main hall on the ground floor of YISHU 8. Former Director of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris Henry-Claude Cousseau, founder of YISHU 8 Christine Cayol, Hermès China Senior Public Relation Manager and Fondation d’entreprise Hermès representative Benny Zhu, critic Huang Du, curator He Guiyan, and the three finalists Cai Lei, Geng Xue, Wang Ge together attended the opening ceremony. The three artists utilized disparate media and various methods to create vibrant new works for this exhibition. In order to present each artist’s own unique art practice, the exhibition is not bound by any overarching theme or title, with the exhibition space providing each artist with their own independent area in the expectation of enabling them to each give form to their varied work and intellectual process. Artist Geng Xue was finally awarded the Prix YISHU 8 Chine 2016. The award-winning artist will be funded for the residency in France for two months in the next year.

Since 2016, Prix YISHU 8 Chine French residency project has been supported by the local men of insight, including thre Laoliu Foundation initiated by Niu Gensheng and China Equity Group represented by Wang Chaochong. This year, the prix specially sets the nomination committee and jury committee (eight members in a group, composed of the founder of YISHU 8 Christine Cayol, President of the YISHU 8 Association Henry-Claude Cousseau and artists, critics, art workers with years of experience, who have been active for a long time in Chinese contemporary art circles), the prix is officially open to the young artists across the nation. The jury selected 3 finalists from 20 nominated artists.

“New Perception – New Narrative of the Young Generation of  Chunese Artists”  

At 3:00 pm on the same day, the special lecture by the jury committee “New Perception – New Narrative of the Young Generation of Chinese Artists” was held on the second floor of YISHU 8 (the original Sino-France University). The special lecture by the jury committee was hosted by a famous art critic Huang Du, former Director of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris Henry-Claude Cousseau, founder of YISHU 8 Christine Cayol, and the curator He Guiyan, as well as the art media attended the meeting.

Former Director of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris Henry-Claude Cousseau said that, the award-winning artist would attend the residency project in Paris and Lyon for two months, and hold a solo exhibition. It was an opportunity to have an exchange with the top French galleries, art museums, artists and critics.

Founder of YISHU 8 Christine Cayol said the setting of Prix YISHU 8 has to be with thanks to the funding of Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, in order to promote the cultural and artistic exchanges between France and China, and with a non-profit purpose. When YISHU 8 was founded, it was in cooperation with CAFA, and the nominated artists were all from CAFA over the previous sessions, but it would be open to the whole country from this year, rather than the limitation of CAFA. At the same time, it would choose more mature young artists. It is the first time to start using a curator for the exhibition. Cayol praised the Chinese young artists that had used a new way to look at the world, the use of poetic expression rather than to simply make a complaint.

The curator He Guiyan said that, “During the past thirty years, the overall development of Chinese contemporary art has been echoed by another evolution: ‘the youth phenomenon’. This is underlined by the fact that since the 1980s, numerous works of art, schools of thought, and artistic movements were all initiated by young artists. This phenomenon peaked between 1985 and 1989, then emerged a lot of youth art groups including Dada from Xiamen, and the new generation emerged which gave priority to the teachers and students from CAFA from 1991 to 1994. Although Chinese contemporary art has been on the decline since 2000, young artists remain its best promoters. The artists, born between 1980 and 1990 stand apart from their forebears with the manner in which they create, by the plurality of the materials they use, at the same time they are removed from politics, they are able to express themselves freely, and to welcome differences. Inevitably, this focus on the personal leads to a distinct heterogeneity. The three artists whose works are exhibited in this show are the best representatives of this new generation of young talents.”

Then, He Guiyan talked about the specific characteristics of three artists, such as Geng Xue’s works which had a distinctive Oriental narrative; Cai Lei focused on form and expression. His works demonstrate a thinking process deeply seated in structuralism; Wang Ge’s body of work shows a remarkable variety in its forms and themes. From her standpoint, at the center of a post-industrial era context, Wang Ge is intrigued by the environment in which modern man has to survive, and the reification of man in artificial landscapes.

Finally it was the Q & A section, and the honored guests answered all the questions from the media one by one. Prize YISHU 8 · China Finalist Exhibition continues to April 29.

About the Prix YISHU 8

Officially created in 2011, the Prix YISHU 8 was initiated by Henry-Claude Cousseau, President of the YISHU 8 Association, and former Director of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (the National Superior School of Fine Arts of Paris). Each year a jury composed of specialists and collectors offers three young French artists the opportunity to come to Beijing to work in an exceptional setting. In 2013, thanks to the support of the Fondation d’Entreprise Hermès, the Prix YISHU 8 was open to young Chinese artists: the laureates may not only benefit from the residency program at YISHU 8 where they will also exhibit their work, but furthermore, obtain a residency in France.

Through these programs of public interest, YISHU 8 aims to actively support young Chinese and French artists by extending to them a free creative platform, exhibitions and exchange opportunities. It also aspires to promote an artistic dialogue between the two countries.

Text by Chen Peihua, Photo by YISHU 8 and Chen Peihua, edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

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