On November 29, the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) announced Weixin Quek Chong as the winner of the 2018 President’s Young Talents Grand Prize, which recognizes the practice of emerging Singaporean artists aged 35 and below. The artist will receive SGD 20,000 (USD 14,609) for the development of new projects.
Chong’s practice investigates humanity and the nexus between the digital, the organic and the aesthetic. Her winning work, sft crsh ctrl (2018), was commissioned by and created with the support of the program’s curator-mentor panel, made up of artists David Chan, Grace Tan, Jason Wee, and Zaki Razak, and curator Roger Nelson. The installation is centered around the idea of a contingency plan, and comprises various forms and surfaces, including sheets of latex and faux fur, that challenge viewers’ understanding and expectations of materials.
Chong was selected from a shortlist of five—including Yanyun Chen, Debbie Ding, Hilmi Johandi and Zarina Muhammad—by a jury panel composed of SAM director of curatorial, programs and publication, June Yap; director of LASALLE College of the Arts’ Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, Bala Starr; SAM acquisition committee chair and managing director of Standard Chartered Bank, Michaelangelo Samson; artist Kumari Nahappan; and artist and art educator Vincent Leow. Explaining their decision, the jury stated in a press release: “sft crsh ctrl, stood out for its command of space and material, and the fluidity with which [Chong] executed her concept. We also recognize Weixin’s work contains elements of risk integral to contemporary practice.”
Chong received her MFA from the Royal College of Art in London with a specialization in printmaking, and currently divides her time between Singapore, the United Kingdom, and Spain. Previously she was an artist-in-residence at the NTU Centre of Contemporary Art in Singapore and the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Santiago, Chile. Her works have been exhibited at The Substation, Pearl Lam Gallery and A.I. Gallery in U.K., and the Cemeti Art Institute in Yogyakarta.