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Liu Wei
"Artist of the Year," 10th Award of Art China

The awards ceremony for the 10th Award of Art China was held in Jianfu Palace in Beijing’s Forbidden City on May 16, 2016. The AAC, now in its tenth year, and two years into major reforms, carried out this year’s selection according to the theme of “The Contemporary in History,” seeking out the unique logic and value of contemporary art in the confluence of history and the
contemporary, global and Chinese, inside and outside, in hopes of rediscovering the
contemporary within a historical vision.

This year’s jury was originally directed by the recently departed scholar Huang
 Zhuan. After his unfortunate passing, his duties were assumed by the jury’s academic
 director Wu Hung, who led a jury consisting of Boris Groys, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Yuko Hasegawa, Karen Smith, Wang Huangsheng, Li Zhenhua and Philip Tinari, all accomplished scholars and experts from China and across the world. They brought their diverse abilities, knowledge and experiences to bear on this year’s candidates for the AAC Awards. After intense deliberation, the jury selected this year’s award winners, with World 3: the History of Art as Ideas, edited by Huang Zhuan, winning Publication of the Year, Hu Xiangqian winning Young Artist of the
Year, and Liu Wei winning Artist of the Year.

Liu Wei Named Artist of the Year

The most intense jury discussion was over the selection of Artist of the Year, an
award recognizing individual practices that furthered the entire field of Chinese
contemporary Art. The shortlist nominees were Ai Weiwei, Huang Yongping, Liu Wei,
Qiu Zhijie and Geng Jianyi. The jury eventually chose Liu Wei for this prestigious
award. The award was revealed by AAC Academic Director Wu Hung, and presented
by Artron Group Chairman Wan Jie and Palace Museum Director Shan Jixiang. Wu
Hung read the jury award statement: “Liu Wei has been consistently dedicated to
the exploration of the use of materials. Whether in his paintings or his installations,
his formal world has always transformed the condition of contemporary society, 
concentrating a chaotic and constantly shifting modern china into a dynamic artistic
language. As others complain about the chaos of the world, Liu Wei has constructed
a new world of his own amidst this chaos.”

Liu Wei remarked, “I am pleasantly surprised to win Artist of the Year. The jury
 sought to award creativity. I hope in the future to create with even more freedom.”
 Liu Wei was born in Beijing in 1972, and graduated from the China Academy of 
Art Oil Painting Department in 1996. His art matured during an important phase in
 China’s development, and was heavily influenced by the unique shifts taking place in Chinese society in this century, particularly the changing cultural landscape. Liu’s
 works have always been marked by a distinctive experimental spirit. His forays into a wide range of mediums subvert existing orders and concepts in a quest for the truth
that is sometimes satirical, sometimes equivocal, and always thought-provoking. He
employs materials in surprising ways with formidable skill to create works with
strong visual impact and profound reflection on social and political issues. Active in 
the Post-Sense Sensation events from the late 1990s, his work has explored a wide
range of mediums from painting to film, installation and sculpture as he gradually 
shaped a unique artistic approach that has garnered increasing acclaim across the

Liu Wei held his largest solo exhibition to date on February 7, 2015, at the Ullens 
Centre for Contemporary Art, presenting the new works Enigma, Puzzle, Crucifixion,
 Look! Book and Love It, Bite It No. 3. The artwork Enigma uses olive drab canvas in a
continuation from his 2012 solo exhibition at Long March Space. Unlike his other
works, which were roped off, Enigma invites visitors to experience it from within. 
Liu Wei also held the solo exhibition Silver at White Cube Gallery in Hong Kong in
 September 2015. In this exhibition, the sculpture titled Puzzle presented a towering 
bricolage of mirrors that forms an isolated, highly architectural space. His recent
paintings, based on computer models, consist of dense arrays of color lines across
the canvas that evoke a towering abstract cityscape. The video installation
 Shape-Shifting consists simply of four screens broadcasting colors. This work can be presented as a grid of screens or a long array installed along the wall. It reflects on
the relationships between modernity, urbanization, architecture and design, while
probing the state of human existence through the lenses of politics, society and
 anthropology, a theme that has long been at the core of his practice.