The Multitude Foundation and Wuhan Art Terminus (WH.A.T.) present the Multitude Art Prize in collaboration with the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA). Grounded in the concept of the “multitude,” in which the extraordinary (re)emerges from a social group undergoing a geopolitical change, the Multitude Art Prize examines the role of art and its relevance in different regions of Asia. The Multitude Foundation is a Hong Kong-based charitable trust founded to promote Asian contemporary art through international dialogue, and the Wuhan Art Terminus (WH.A.T.) is a contemporary art centre currently being developed in Wuhan that takes inspiration from the idea of the “terminus”, a place that both sends out and receives people and their ideas. UCCA is proud to host the inaugural Multitude Art Prize exhibition from April 28 – June 16, 2013 (opening April 27), as well as a special conference on April 28 placing the situation of contemporary Asian art within a global context. The exhibition, which will be held annually in a different Asian city, will feature five winning artists or artist groups representing the most creative, critical minds in a rising Asian contemporary art scene. In the accompanying programs, invited speakers, including leading Asian curators and scholars as well as Western museum directors involved in the institutional collaborative “L’Internationale,” will provide an eclectic, academic analysis of the present and future of contemporary art in Asia.
The five artists or artist groups awarded the prize every year must be based in Asia or of Asian descent, where “Asia” refers to Greater China, East Asia, South East Asia, South Asia, and Central and West Asia up to and including Turkey at its westernmost point. Every year, an eight-member committee of Asian and non-Asian partner curators and institutions will nominate five artists each to create a list of 40 nominated artists, with committee members rotating each year in order to retain a fresh perspective. A jury of five will then select five winners from the list of 40 nominated artists. This year the Multitude Art Prize exhibition will be held at UCCA in Beijing, China, while next year the prize will be held in West Asia.
The Prize takes its name from the reformulation of the idea of the “multitude” in Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s books Empire (2000), and Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (2004). The works examine the possibilities of a collective social subject engaging with global capitalism through acts both antagonistic and creative, with the below quotation from the latter book capturing the spirit of the Prize:
“We do not have any models to offer for this event. Only the multitude through its practical experimentation will offer the models and determine when and how the possible becomes real.”
The Multitude Art Prize and Discourse Series will provide a context in which to examine the critical potentiality of art in Asia, with participants at every level able to essay their ideas on contemporary culture and help negotiate the terms by which we analyze, understand, and impact upon it.
· Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, Philippines
· Ha Za Vu Zu, Turkey
· Raqs Media Collective, India
· MOON Kyungwon and JEON Joonho, Korea
· Yao Jui-chung, Taiwan