Breakthroughs: Weekly News Roundup, December 3
By The Editors
Sharjah Film Platform 4 Winners
The Sharjah Art Foundation revealed the recipients of the Sharjah Film Platform 4 (SFP4) awards at a closing ceremony on November 27. For narrative films, Atjipal Singh’s Fire in the Mountains (2021), set in the Himalayas, won best feature-length film; the jury said it “paint[s] a portrait of an isolated community where a woman is confronted with corruption and sorcery while struggling to make a better life for her family.” Janus Victoria’s The Myth of Manila (2021) was judged the best narrative short film. In the documentary section the winners were: Dhyaa Joda’s Dance With a Bullet (2020) and Abdessamad El Montassir’s Galb’Elchaouf (2021), for feature and short film, respectively. And in the experimental category, Aristotelis Maragkos’s The Timekeepers of Eternity (2021) won best feature, and Nadim Choufi’s The Sky Oscillates Between Eternity and Its Immediate Consequences (2021) was named best short. The jury also announced Yaser Al Neyadi as the winner of “Pitching Forum” for his screenplay for a feature-length Arabic film, From 8 to 6; he will receive AED 200,000 (USD 54,500) toward its production.
Yung Ma Named Curator at Hayward Gallery
The Hayward Gallery at Southbank Centre announced on December 2 that Yung Ma has been appointed as curator at the London institution. For his most recent curatorial venture, he served as the artistic director of the 11th edition of the Seoul Mediacity Biennale, which opened in September. Previously he worked at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and M+ in Hong Kong, and co-curated two Hong Kong Pavilions at the Venice Biennale: in 2009 for Pak Sheung-Chuen and in 2013 with Lee Kit. Ma will work alongside Cliff Lauson, the senior curator, and reports to the Hayward’s director, Ralph Rugoff.
Lihua Tung Appointed Director at David Zwirner Hong Kong
International bluechip gallery David Zwirner named Lihua Tung as the new director of its Hong Kong outpost. Previously Tung had worked as a senior director and specialist of 20th century and contemporary art at Phillips auction house since February 2020. Prior to Phillips, she worked at Christie’s for 12 years, first as the vice president of the Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art department in Taiwan, then as the head of sale at Asia, Post-War and Contemporary Art department in Hong Kong. In her new role, Tung will work with the gallery’s senior director Leo Xu on the fairs and programs across Asia.
Gwangju Biennale Postponed to April 2023
The 14th edition of the Gwangju Biennale has been rescheduled to April 2023 and will run for 94 days from April 7 to July 9, instead of the traditional 66-day period. Although the previous edition was also rescheduled from September 2020 to February and then April 2021 due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, the latest decision comes with a series of reforms at the Gwangju Biennale Foundation under the new president Park Yangwoo, who was selected for the role in August following a protracted dispute with the Biennale’s labor union.
Major Donation for The Met
The Asian American financier Oscar Tang and his wife Agnes Hsu-Tang donated USD 125 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York. It is the largest capital donation in the museum’s history, according to the announcement on November 30. The fund will be used for the renovation of the museum’s Modern wing, which will cost USD 500 million. The building, comprising 7,400 square meters of galleries and public space, will bear the Tangs’ name for at least five decades. Oscar Tang was born in Shanghai, grew up in the US, and co-founded the asset-management firm Reich and Tang; he has been a trustee of the museum for almost 30 years. Hsu-Tang is an art historian and archaeologist and serves as the chair of the board of the New York Historical Society.
Melbourne’s Big Banana Assaulted
A surprisingly divisive 1.8-meter sculpture of an anthropomorphized peeled banana, installed on Rose Street in suburban Fitzroy, Melbourne, was attacked on November 25 by an unknown vandal, who attempted to hack it in half. Titled Fallen Fruit (2021), the big skull-faced banana by artist Adam Stone was commissioned by the local government for AUD 22,000 (USD 15,500) as part of its Transport and Accident Commission grant for improving road safety in the area. While the motivation for its defacing remains unclear, the grimacing plantain’s hefty price tag had split opinion since its unpeeling on November 8, with some arguing that it is a waste of public funds. Fallen Fruit is part of Stone’s banana-based series about hubris, excess, and overconsumption. As he set out to fix the damages, Stone told local media that he was surprised and upset “to see the work dramatically vandalized.” Victoria police are searching for the culprit and released images of the anti-banana suspect sawing the sculpture.