Huang Yong Ping Tapped for Monumenta 2016

Huang Yong Ping, Sixty-year cycle chariot, 1999
Huang Yong Ping, Sixty-year cycle chariot, 1999

Fresh off the heels of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov‘s appropriately monumental commission The Strange City for Monumenta 2014, French culture minister Aurélie Filippetti announced the selection of China-born, Paris-based artist Huang Yong Ping for Monumenta 2016, Libération reports. Ping, who has French citizenship and makes large-scale, elaborately fabricated sculptures and installations, seems a winning selection for the high-stakes, high-octane project. Though he came in 10th in artnet News’s tally of the most expensive living French artists, this project seems likely to move him up a few spots in the rankings.

The choice reflects a desire to curry favor with both critics and the general public, who have been unimpressed with the two most recent editions of Monumenta—the Kabakovs in 2014 and Daniel Buren in 2012—a biennial commission awarded to a contemporary artist to fill Paris’s Grand Palais. With just 145,000 visitors, the Kabakovs’ exhibition notched about half the attendance as Anish Kapoor’s wildly popular 2011 installation.

Filippetti praised Ping “because his art, with its dreamlike qualities, is capable of striking viewers’ imaginations,” and deems him capable of handling “a project that must remain artistic and popular.” She added that he “has worked a great deal in public space, which will help him in confronting this magnificent space.”

Since 2012 Monumenta has switched to a biannual schedule, though allegedly not so much over budgetary problems, but in order to avoid conflicting with the Lyon Biennale.

“I wanted to leave lots of space for the Lyon Biennale, a very important event that should be promoted as France’s biennial” Filippetti explained. “I have always maintained and even increased budgets for contemporary art, including by helping galleries, because I believe in this dynamic of art living like an ecosystem. The result is evident: France is back at the forefront of contemporary art.”

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