The inaugural Hugo Boss Asia Art award, a collaboration between the brand and the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai, has high hopes for the future of Asian art. Currently displaying an exhibit of works by the honor’s seven finalists—all based in China, Taiwan or Hong Kong—the museum is backing talent that will no doubt make significant marks in the years to come.
The winner, Kwan Sheung Chi of Hong Kong, collected a stipend of about $50,000 for his stimulating oeuvre of video and installation art. Doing it with Mrs. Kwan…Making Pepper Spray, one of the works on view, is a five-minute video of a woman demonstrating for an audience how to make pepper spray using common kitchen supplies, spoofing cooking shows. The judges chose him for his ability to probe the realities of society via everyday people, “not just wallowing in simple criticism or praise, and not without humor or a sense of poetry either.”
Other finalists include Birdhead, a photography duo whose photos of their hometown (Shanghai) have appeared at MoMA New York; Li Wei, whose I'm Calm is pictured above; and Li Liao a performance artist who for one piece displayed a uniform from a job he took at a factory making parts for iPads, his contract and the iPad he bought with his earnings—a wry commentary on materialism and the ever-widening gap between workers and consumers.
The prize will be awarded every other year from here on out. Through December 8; 20 Huqiu Rd., Huangpu District; 86-21/3310-9985; rockbundartmusuem.org.