The Seventh International Awards for Art Criticism (IAAC) Announces Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung as Winner of the First Prize

In May 2021, the international jury panel for the Seventh International Awards for Art Criticism (IAAC) held an online meeting hosted by the Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum to deliberate over the submissions and decide on a winner. After two days of intense discussions on May 14-15, it was announced that Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung, based in Berlin, had been awarded the first prize worth 80,000 yuan (pre-tax) and a short residence in Shanghai. Peter S Brock, based in New York, and Wang Kaimei and Zhang Hao, both based in Shanghai, won joint second prizes, worth 10,000 yuan each (pre-tax).

International jury panel reviews the submissions in online deliberations.

This year, the IAAC7 received a record 253 submissions in both Chinese and English from authors based in 34 countries around the world. The largest number of submissions were from China, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and Russia, accounting for 83% of the total.

There were 136 Chinese-language submissions, representing an increase of 7.9% compared with last year, with authors based in 24 provinces, cities and regions across China. The top three sources of submissions were Beijing, Shanghai and Sichuan Province, while Chinese-language submissions from overseas authors accounted for 18%, which was significantly lower than 31% received for the IAAC6. Among the domestic exhibitions critiqued by the entrants, 29% were in Shanghai, ranking first, followed by Beijing with 21%.

There were 117 English-language submissions, with the largest number from the United Kingdom followed by the United States. These two, combined, accounted for 49% of the total English entries, while 11 from China accounted for a further 9%.

Over the past seven years, the International Awards for Art Criticism have seen their international reach gradually grow. This year attracted submissions for the first time from entrants based in Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Afghanistan, and Albania.

Since the beginning, the International Awards for Art Criticism have received a total of 1,612 valid submissions from authors in 74 countries and regions around the world. There has been a total of 24 winners and 103 finalists selected from among contestants, including curators, artists, authors and freelance writers, as well as teachers, students, art industry figures and people who simply love and appreciate art.

This year’s jury panel was composed of five judges: Ding Ning, Professor of Art History and Theory, Peking University; Ken Neil, Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, The Royal College of Art; Lisbeth Rebollo Gonçalves, President of the International Association of Art Critics; Richard Dyer, Editor-in-Chief of Third Text; and Pauline J. Yao, Lead Curator, Visual Art, M+ Hong Kong.

After two days’ critical scrutiny of forty shortlisted submissions – all of them, anonymised - the jury unanimously decided on four winners:

First prize winner (English review): Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung
Joint second prize winner (English review): Peter S Brock
Joint second prize winner (Chinese review): Wang Kaimei
Joint second prize winner (Chinese review): Zhang Hao

Henry Meyric Hughes, Chair of the International Awards for Art Criticism (IAAC) said: ‘Despite our early anxieties about holding this competition during the Covid-19 pandemic, when many museums and galleries had been closed to the public, we were rewarded with the number of submissions from all over the world. For the first time, contenders for these coveted Awards were permitted to review on-line exhibitions, and a number of participants took advantage of this possibility. Overall, the standard of entries in both Chinese and English was high, and the forty anonymised reviews on the final shortlist exceptionally high. Unsurprisingly, the final overall winner and several of the runners-up addressed issues of concern related to the epidemic and its consequences. We are especially grateful to the five highly qualified members of the jury for their fair-mindedness and deep engagement with the texts.’

20 reviews from the final selection – one half of them in Chinese and the other half in English -, including the four Award-winning reviews, will be published towards the end of the year in the IAAC’s bilingual Exhibitions Reviews Annual 7.

The Seventh International Awards for Art Criticism are sponsored by Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, co-organised by the Royal College of Art (RCA) and Edinburgh University College of Art (ECA). The chief sponsors are China Minsheng Banking Corp. Ltd and Shanghai Minsheng Art Foundation.

Introduction of 2020 Prize Winners

Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung    First Prize

Title: Aftermath: Lessons in Futurity from Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Exhibition: Lawrence Abu Hamdan on YouTube

Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung is a writer based in Berlin, and founding editor of institutional critique platform Decolonial Hacker. He studied art history, gender studies and law at the University of Sydney, and is currently the curatorial assistant at the Julia Stoschek Collection.

Peter S Brock    Joint Second Prize
Title: The Rock
Exhibition: The Rock

Peter Brock is a visual artist and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. His work addresses the hopes and desires that structure our representations of nature. He works in painting, sculpture, video and installation. Recent exhibitions include Rerun, Root Canal, Amsterdam; The Qadrangular Sky, Fastnet, Brooklyn; The Dying Sun, Calle Cedro 327, Mexico City; More Science Less Fear, 83 Pitt Street, New York; and Neueroffnung, Federico Vavassori, Milan. His art criticism has been published in Texte Zur Kunst, The Brooklyn Rail and Frieze. Brock earned an MFA from Bard College in painting and was a guest student at the Staedelschule in Frankfurt, Germany.

Wang Kaimei   Joint Second Prize

Title: Even the Air Smells Sweet
Exhibition: Forget The Horizon

Kaimei Wang is an independent curator, art writer and translator based in Shanghai. She graduated from Beijing Normal University, Stockholm University and holds a master degree on study of contemporary art at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art. She writes frequently diverse art-related issues for various media both in China and overseas. She is the co-writer of a book on contemporary painter Ding Yi published by Lund Humphries in London on March, 2020. Her research of interest covers film, photography and painters in relation to art history.

She has curated Swedish artists‘ exhibition “The Weather War” in Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum; Chinese photographer Chen Man’s exhibition “Fearless&Fabulous”in Fotografiska Museum in Stockholm and Ingmar Bergman photography exhibition in Shanghai. Her translation work “Ingmar Bergman Essay Collection” from Swedish to Chinese will be published in 2021.

Zhang Hao  Joint Second Prize

Title: The Intermediary’s Approach
Exhibition: Gerhard Richter: Painting After All

I graduated with B.S. in Biology from Peking University. In 2013, my track was changed and I started the successive postgraduate and doctoral programs of study at the School of Humanities, Tongji University, and currently I am a doctoral candidate majoring in Philosophy of Art. My main interests contain philosophy of art, theories and practices of modern and contemporary art in Europe and the United States, as well as translation of relevant art texts. In 2015 and 2017, as a visiting student, I successively studied in the Department of English and American Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Graduate Institute of Art History at National Taiwan Normal University for a total of one year. From September 2017 to September 2019, I was selected into the joint training program of government-sponsored doctoral students and studied in the Department of Art and Visual History at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. I like to be a “common viewer” and explore possible ways to keep returning to the art scene, and the work of art often provide more effective information than the words of its producer.

Chinese Language Entries, IAAC 7

Fan Rui
Title: The Builders of the Future: Technology, Algorithms, Super-materiality
Exhibition: Immaterial / Re-material: A Brief History of Computing Art

Gu Qianfan
Title: Rem Koolhaas’ Many Questions About the Countryside
Exhibition: Countryside, The Future

Hong Ying
Title: Mountain Moors: “Waiting from White Arts: Richard Lin” and a Meeting Between Celan and Heidegger
Exhibition: Richard Lin ‘Waiting from White Arts’

Jiang Yiwei
Title: Family History, Capital and Art in the Rear Window
Exhibition: Li Qing ‘Rear Window’

Liu Tian
Title: Meditations in an Emergency, or an Auschwitz Moment: Questioning Art and Criticism
Exhibition: Meditations in an Emergency

Song Qisen
Title: Sensationalizing the Countryside: Another Gimmick?
Exhibition: Countryside, The Future

Yang Ru
Title: Rethinking Boundaries: Francis Alÿs’ Solo Show “Wet feet_dry feet: borders and games”
Exhibition: Wet feet_dry feet: borders and games

Zhang Yaxuan
Title: Following the Path Provided by Lockdown
Exhibition: Kunsten festival des arts

English Language Entries, IAAC 6

Adeline Chia
Title: Forked Tongue
Exhibition: Primeval Codes

Adrian Gouet Hiriart
Title: Oblivions are just things to overcome, after all
Exhibition: Gran Sur: Contemporary Art from Chile in the Engel Collection

Ben Eastham
Title: The Seventh Continent
Exhibition: 16th Istanbul Biennial

James Tabbush
Title: We Want to Believe
Exhibition: The Botanical Mind

Kamayani Sharma
Title: Blood and Paper: Zarina and the Currencies of Violence in India
Exhibition: Zarina - A Life in Nine Lines

Patrick J. Reed
Title: Aw, Phooey! Il Ghirigoro at Pio Pico, Los Angeles
Exhibition: Il Ghirigoro

Sophie Haigney
Title: This is not an apple,’ or is it? : On Trevor Paglen’s “From ‘Apple’ to Anomaly’"
Exhibition: “From ‘Apple’ to Anomaly’"

Tallulah Griffith
Title: Breathing Life into: Plants, Archives, and People in Responsive Space
Exhibition: Responsive Space