Held once every three years, the Signature Art Prize has upped its ante this time around by bringing in the big bucks. The grand prize has soared to $60,000 - $15,000 more than the 2011 edition - to make it the most lucrative prize of its kind in the region.
‘Having a prize purse that is bigger than others in a region where grants can be scarce is a significant contribution to artists as they develop their practice,’ says Susie Lingham, the Singapore Art Museum’s director and one of this year’s judges. ‘The prize spotlights the most compelling contemporary artworks by regional artists over the last three years. It is also not genre-specific, encompassing the spectrum of contemporary art.'
This year, 15 artists have been shortlisted from 105 nominees from countries as diverse as Australia, Japan and Pakistan. Ho Tzu Nyen’s video piece, PYTHAGORAS, and Zhao Renhui’s installation, Eskimo Wolf Trap Often Quoted in Sermons, are among the Singaporean finalists. Other familiar names include Nguyen Trinh Thi from Vietnam, whose video projection on human-shaped wooden cut-outs - called Unsubtitled - was seen at the Singapore Biennale, and Arin Rungjang from Thailand, whose sculpture and video, Golden Teardrop, was displayed at Future Perfect Gallery last year.
The nomination process comprises two parts, explains Lingham. In the first, 36 nominators from different regions search their respective countries for works that push boundaries. This is followed by a judging process that involves a five-member jury panel of art experts and opinion-makers across the contemporary art world.
Winners will be announced on 22 Jan 2015, although the works will be on show from this month. Gwen Pew
Free admission to the exhibition for Singaporean and PRs.
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