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CCAA | Chinese Contemporary Art Award

Chapters 5 › Unit 5: Create a journal entry: Development of the Unknown Artist View instructions Hide instructions

Create a journal entry: Development of the Unknown Artist

Journal

In the beginning of the CCAA, finding the Unknown Artist was one of its main aims. Explain the changes in the search for the Unknown Artist within the last 15 year and discuss possible outside factors which fueled this development.

Share your experiences and have a look at the journals of other participants.
Feel free to comment.

how to find the Unknown Artist

2 comments

In the early years the CCAA seemed to act in the underground - as did the artists dealing with contemporary art. Among these artists the CCAA was known by mouth-to-mouth propaganda, they had to apply themselves for the award by sending their application documents to a PO Box. At that time neither the artists nor Mr. Sigg knew, how the official Chinese politics would react. Therefore it was more careful for the CCAA to operate more or less in the shadows.
Later on the CCAA had 5-6 nominators who proposed each 15-20 pre-selected artists, the art award winner was chosen from these pre-selected artists. The fact that from the very first the award's jurors were famous curators who enabled the artists to participate in internationally regarded exhibitions helped to establish the CCAA and also promoted the elected artists. There are many among them who have become internationally famous and therefore highly payed. This seems to be similar to the development of Chinese economy at that time. Opening to the western economic system made earning money to an enormous amount possible for individual persons. One of the main goals seems to be to get rich and therefore a person of great influence - as it is in western countries. In this respect contemporary Chinese art and public life partly went hand in hand.
Nowadays the search for the Unknown Artist has changed a little bit: Besides the nominator way the artists themselves can apply for the award online. And there is now a CCAA office in Beijing where all the documents concerning the CCAA and thus the history of the Chinese contemporary art are stored. This means forms the basis for academic research on Chinese contemporary art. I think, this is a good way to sustain the importance of the CCAA. As soon as contemporary art has become commercially successful there have grown a lot of new galleries and awards to take part in this market. But politics is still eager to control (and censor) sensitive artistic works and their artists, so I think, doing academic research on Chinese contemporary art is the best way to establish this art in China and to support artists, so that they can work independently on any topic.
I ask myself if it wouldn't serve to declare all the shortlist's artists winner of the CCAA (as it was once some years ago). This might take the pressure off the artists to be the very first and therefore could encourage more artists to participate in the award.

Comments

over 1 year ago

Dear Hans
I think your comment on the importance of academic research regarding the CCAA is indeed very true. Academic research casts a new light on events connected to the CCAA and Chinese contemporary art in general, but also cultural, political and social changes over the last twenty years.
Even though those changes have been enormous, Chinese culture is still quite unique. As Mr Sigg has pointed out in Thursday's webinar, loosing face could be one of the reasons, why already esteemed artists are not applying.
Maybe publishing the shortlist would take off the pressure and have more artists apply and thus should be considered as a possible adjustment in the future.
Might I recommend to put your question up for discussion?
Kind regards
Barbara
Editor & Community Manager

over 1 year ago

Dear Barbara
I am just writing my new journal entry about the future of the CCAA. I think, on the one hand the CCAA should go the academic way promoting a close collaboration with universities, on the other hand I fear that Xi Jinping's administration is going to have an increasing influence on the universities - and that would mean an increasing probability of state censorship.
I think, loosing face is still something very bad to happen to Chinese people, and this fact should be considered by the CCAA. Maybe publishing the shortlist could be one way to have more artists apply for the CCAA. -
So yes, you might recommend to put this question up for discussion.
Kind regards
Hans

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