Launched in 2015, the BMW Art Journey is a collaboration between Art Basel and BMW, created to recognise and support emerging artists worldwide. The prize offers the winning artist the chance to travel almost anywhere in the world – to research, network, envision and create new work.
Decided by a judging panel comprised of internationally renowned experts, the 2020 prize winner has been announced to be Hong Kong artist Leelee Chan.
Chan – who is represented by Capsule Shanghai gallery – was selected from a shortlist of three proposals by artists who are represented by galleries originally accepted into this year’s Art Basel show in Hong Kong. Her BMW Art Journey Tokens From Time intends to trace material culture from the past, present and future.
Investigating ancient materials and their future substitutes from the emerging fields of nanotechnology and biotechnology, Leelee Chan’s BMW Art Journey project gives expression to the evolving relationship between people and materials, and touches on contemporary debates surrounding ecological and cultural sustainability.
“We were impressed by how Leelee Chan engages with materials that are charged with needs, values and ideas, to ask what it means to be a sculptor working today and tomorrow”, the judging panel noted in a statement.
As part of her project, Chan intends to visit artisan families that practice ancient craftsmanship techniques using copper, silver and marble, among other materials, engaging in dialogues with scientists and experts to understand how natural materials may be substituted by synthetic materials in the future.
“I am beyond excited to be selected for the BMW Art Journey. Material objects have always been at the core of my practice. The journey will allow me to dig much deeper by discovering new processes, by encountering the people who work with them in their everyday lives, and, thereby, to make them meaningful for me as a sculptor working in this current uncertain moment’, says Leelee Chan.
In addition to Leelee Chan, the shortlisted artists for the BMW Art Journey 2020 were: Jes Fan (represented by Empty Gallery, Hong Kong) and the artist duo Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho (represented by 47 Canal, New York).