Prestigious Benesse Art Prize Debuts in Asia at Singapore Biennale 2016

The winner will be announced during Singapore Art Week.

The Benesse House Museum, first opened in 1992. Designed by Tadao Ando, it is built on high ground overlooking the Seto Inland Sea and features large apertures that open up the interior to its natural surroundings. Picture Courtesy: Benesse Art Site Naoshima.
The Benesse House Museum, first opened in 1992. Designed by Tadao Ando, it is built on high ground overlooking the Seto Inland Sea and features large apertures that open up the interior to its natural surroundings. Picture Courtesy: Benesse Art Site Naoshima.

This year, to inaugurate its entry into Asia, the 11th edition of the Benesse Prize is to be awarded at the Singapore Biennale 2016.

The last 10 editions of the prize, inaugurated in 1995, were given out at the Venice Biennale, and its first recipient was Chineseartist Cai Guo Qiang.

Other previous prize winners have include artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, and Anri Sala, among others. The accolade is sponsored by Benesse Holdings, Inc.

'Aftermath' (2016) Pannaphan Yodmanee, one of the nominees of the Benesse Prize. A site-specific installation, collection of the Artist, Singapore Biennale 2016 commission. Photo Courtesy: Singapore Biennale.

Aftermath (2016) by Pannaphan Yodmanee, one of the finalists of the Benesse Prize. A site-specific installation, collection of the Artist, Singapore Biennale 2016 commission. Photo Courtesy: Singapore Biennale.

The winner will receive a significant sum of JPY 3,000,000 ($28,798), and a commission to create a site-specific work at the Benesse Art Site in Naoshima, Japan.

The shortlist stands at five finalists, primarily Asian artists, including Bui Cong Khanh (Vietnam), Ade Darmawan (Indonesia), Qiu Zhijie (China), Martha Atienza (The Philippines) and Pannaphan Yodmanee (Thailand), with works on view at the Singapore Biennale. The winner will be announced when the exhibition draws to a close in 2017, during Singapore Art Week.

The Singapore Biennale, which opens to the public tomorrow, has been a rather late arrival to the range of biennials that have been opening across the Asian continent since the 1990s, with the Taipei edition being one of the first in 1992. The Singaporean edition launched in 2006, the same year the country played host to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group annual meetings.

'One Has to Wander through All the Outer Worlds to Reach the Innermost Shrine at the End' (2016) Qiu Zhijie, one of the nominees of the Benesse Prize. Collection of the Artist, Singapore Biennale 2016 commission. Photo Courtesy: Singapore Biennale.

One Has to Wander through All the Outer Worlds to Reach the Innermost Shrine at the End, (2016) by Qiu Zhijie, one of the nominees of the Benesse Prize. Collection of the Artist, Singapore Biennale 2016 commission. Photo Courtesy: Singapore Biennale.

A decade in, it is certainly an event of note, with a special interest in staging big, non-commercial contemporary art events that maintain a strong regional focus. This year, over 60 artists from 19 different countries and territories are taking part in the four-month-long event, curated by Dr. Susie Lingham, who was previously the director of the Singapore Art Museum.

Titled An Atlas of Mirrors, the Singapore Biennale seeks to connect with regions between East Asia and South Asia, giving a suitable platform for its diversity of expression and opinion.

“An Atlas of Mirrors,” the Singapore Biennale 2016, runs from October 27, 2016 – February 26, 2017


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