IAAC 4 - Winners Announcement

With the fourth edition of the International Awards for Art Criticism (IAAC) we may safely say that the Awards now have an established place in the artistic calendar and have gained global recognition in China and beyond.

The aim of the Awards is to encourage good writing and critical thinking about art exhibitions and to address audiences wishing to extend their engagement with contemporary art.

This year our sponsors have generously increased the value of the Awards so as to maintain their global competitiveness and stimulate new critical writing from different parts of the world.

The Awards, which are the only ones of their kind, in scale and ambition, are judged anonymously by a team of top level, internationally recognised art writers, critics, university professors and curators, as follows:

Antonia Carver, Director of Art Jameel, Dubai

Gong Yan, Director of The Power Station of Art, Shanghai

Tim Marlow, Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Arts, London

Raqs Media Collective, New Delhi

Shen Kuiyi, Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism, University of California, San Diego

This year’s Awards amount to a cash prize of 10,000 euros, up from 6,000, for the overall winner in Chinese OR English and runner-up prizes of 3,500 euros, up from 2,000 each. The prizes are awarded for the authors of essays in each of the two languages, devoted to an exhibition of contemporary art held anywhere in the world over the 12 month period up to 24 September 2017.

This year, the competition attracted 205 submissions overall – half each in Chinese and English – by authors living in the 20 provinces of mainland China, in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and as far afield as West and East Europe, North and South America, the Indian subcontinent and other parts of South-East Asia. They covered a wide range of exhibitions from solo and group shows, in publicly funded and private galleries, biennales and other large-scale mixed exhibitions of that nature.

A selection of 18 shortlisted essays, including the prize-winning submissions, will be published in the 4th edition of the IAAC’s Exhibition Reviews Annual (2016-2017), due out in spring 2018.

All 210 submissions were judged in the original language by separate juries of experts in the first round of selection. In the second and final round, the combined international jury were able to confirm their choice of three outstanding essays from a short list of 18, which demonstrated great strength in depth. The jury recommended that the fourth available award should be dedicated to activities promoting the importance of critical writing, especially to encourage more critical approaches and diverse voices. The 18 essays in the shortlist for the final selection covered a wide range of expression, from the largely descriptive to the comprehensively critical or analytical, with all gradations in between.

The judges spent two days of intense and richly rewarding discussion of each of the shortlisted essays, at the end of which they decided unanimously to reward the following three writers for the outstanding quality of their writing and stimulating ideas:

1. 1st Prize Winner: Jyoti Dhar is an art critic of British and Indian descent based in Colombo. Her submitted text is titled: ‘Distorted Transmissions’ reviewing an exhibition by Chandragupta Thenuwara titled ‘GLITCH +’ at Saskia Fernando Gallery in Colombo. (23rd July - 13th August 2017)

She is a contributing editor for ArtAsiaPacific and regularly writes on artists and exhibitions in and around South Asia for Artforum and The Sunday Times in Sri Lanka. She is the recipient of the Forbes India Emerging Art Writer of the Year award 2014 and was a Forum Fellow at Art Dubai in 2012. Her writing has appeared in ArtAsiaPacific, Artforum, Asian Art News, Contemporary Practices, Even, Flash Art, Harpers Bazaar Art Arabia, Isskustvo Arts Journal, Modern Painters, Motherland and The Sunday Times.

She was previously editor and rapporteur of City As Studio programs 02 and 03 at Sarai-CSDS and critic-in-residence for In Context: Public.Art.Ecology at Khoj International Artists' Association in New Delhi. In Dubai she was the curator of the DIFC art collection, In Decay at Carbon 12 gallery and Bagash Art Gallery. She is currently working on a book about contemporary art in post-conflict Sri Lanka.

2. Runner-up: Liu Jiaqiang, his essay titled Spirits of an Exhibition  - On Printed Matter- (TO ADD exhibition title + Dates)

Jiaqiang graduated from Sichuan Fine Art Institute, was nominated for the Zhang Xiaogang Art Scholarship (2013). From 2005 to 2015, he was awarded the Comprehensive Art & New Media Art bachelor's degree and master's degree. He devoted to social participatory art, and explored the relationship between social change and a revolution in art. Recently, he worked in the Resident Planning Research and practice, and prepared for applying the Exhibition Research doctor's degree of The China Academy of Art .

He worked in "Art Intern.net" and "Art Absolute " magazine as an editor and deputy director of new media.He served as a partner for the Eleventh Shanghai Biennale City Pavilion exhibition “Grain God Narrative”, assisting exhibition planning and recording process, and editing the exhibition documents of Taiwan architect Xie Yingjun. In 2017, He launched local art practice "Action in The Stagnation Zone" in the edge of the community.

2. Runner-up: Sean Ashton, wrote an essay titled: ‘Natural Selection’ on Andy Holden and Peter Holden show titled

‘Natural Selection’ at the former Newington Library, in London, (10 September - 5 November 2017). Ashton is a writer of essays and stories. He is a regular contributor to ArtReview, and is the author of the book Sunsets and Dogshits (Alma, 2007), a collection of reviews of imaginary cultural phenomena.