Wang Bing wins 2017 EYE Art & Film Prize

Alexander Rinnooy Kan [Supervisory Board, EYE Filmmuseum], Béla Tarr [director, jury member EYE Prize], Wang Bing [filmmaker / artist, winner EYE Prize 2017], Sandra den Hamer, managing director EYE Filmmuseum] (photo: Floris Heuer)

6 April 2017

Wang Bing was announced as the winner of the 2017 EYE Art & Film Prize at a ceremony in Amsterdam’s EYE Filmmuseum on Thursday, 6 April 2017. Bing received the £25,000 GBP prize, which will go towards funding the creation of new work. In spring 2018, EYE will present an exhibition of Wang Bing and the two previous winners of the EYE Art & Film Prize, Hito Steyerl and Ben Rivers.

The EYE Art & Film Prize, created by EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam and the Paddy & Joan Leigh Fermor Arts Fund, supports and promotes an artist or filmmaker whose work has contributed in a unique manner to developments in the field between art and film.

Beijing-based Wang Bing was chosen from a shortlist presented to the Jury by an International Advisory Board. A leading figure within Chinese cinema, Wang Bing’s selection as winner of the EYE Art & Film Prize is based on his significant body of work, which has made an unprecedented contribution, not only to documentary film, but also to video-installation and feature film.

Wang Bing’s work as a filmmaker and visual artist touches upon the transformations taking place in Chinese society. Working virtually alone and using a digital camera, Wang Bing creates films characterised by their reliance on natural lighting and ambient sound. Often employing long, steady shots and blending time and reality, Wang’s monumental films challenge the larger narratives of contemporary China by capturing the banal humanity of their subjects. His films point to the raw and existential realities of the human condition.

On behalf of the Jury, Sandra den Hamer, CEO of the EYE Filmmuseum and chair of the EYE Art & Film Prize, noted:

“With his uncompromising way of working, Wang Bing is a sincere and authentic artist, who shows his engagement with today’s society and his perspective on the human condition. His well-constructed work has a deep knowledge of the visual language and is a strong voice, both in cinema and in the arts. While political and outspoken, Wang Bing doesn’t push viewers to accept his perspective, rather, his beautiful, brave work leaves room for interpretation.”

Wang Bing received the EYE Art & Film Prize at the annual EYE Gala, which coincided with EYE’s fifth anniversary.

Wang Bing

Born in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China, in 1967, Wang Bing studied photography at the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Art and cinematography at Beijing Film Academy. He began his career as an independent filmmaker in 1999. Officially released in 2003, West of Tracks (Tiexi qu/铁西区), an enormous documentary work of over 9 hours, garnered enormous international success. In addition to his feature documentaries (Three Sisters/San zimei/三姊妹, ’Til Madness/Fengai/疯爱), he is also active in video installation (Crude Oil/Yuanyou/原油, a 14 hour film), fiction film (Brutality Factory/Baoli gongchang/暴力工厂, The Ditch/Jiabiangou/夹边沟), and photography.

Wang Bing’s work has been selected for major international film festivals, including Cannes Film Festival, Venice International Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam. Several of his films have been recognised with international awards, including the award for Best Film in “Orizzonti” at the 69th Venice International Film Festival for Three Sisters (2012). His documentaries have been released in theatres around the world. Acclaimed by critics and recognised as one of the most important Chinese artists, documentary makers and film directors of his time, Wang Bing has been honoured with retrospectives in museums, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique in Brussels.

In 2017, he is participating in Documenta 14 in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany