Art and artists are the places and people that can show us how the world is changing. Given the rapid economic advances in Asia over the past 20 years, it seems essential that new cultural connections are build across the continent so that we can all gain a greater understanding of what is happening at the roots of Asia's different societies. The Multitude Art Prize offers a wonderfully multi-faceted project to achieve this. With its nomadic exhibition and discussion programme, Multitude can build up a series of rich encounters across Asia and offer a unique new insight into what our collective future might hold.”
Charles Esche, Director, Van Abbemuseum

What is the Multitude Art Prize?

The Multitude Art Prize is an annual award for Asian contemporary artists coupled with a conference on related cultural and geopolitical issues. The award travels to a different Asian country each year where it partners with leading institutions of the region to host an exhibition of the winning artists and an in-depth programme of lectures and dialogues.

The conference is an integral part of the overall project. Partnerships are created with top contemporary art institutions all over the world to help bring together the most influential thinkers on contemporary culture from their regions.

Exploring the relevance of contemporary culture

“Multitude” is a philosophical term used to investigate the potentiality of peoples in a world undergoing geopolitical change. In an era when Western dominance has been brought into question by re-emerging influence across Asia, the Multitude Art Prize aims to investigate the rise of new cultural ideas coming from Asia in the field of contemporary art, and examines the relevance of art across a vast and complex cultural landscape undergoing different forms of political, economic, and cultural change.

Multitude conference - a network of contemporary dialogue between different regions of Asia

The Multitude Conference aims to addresses issues between the state of contemporary art in Asia and its wider geopolitical context as reflected in the practice of the artists in the award exhibition and ideas brought together by conference participants. Aiming to go beyond the confines of the art world, the conference shall bring together insights from film directors, philosophers, writers, musicians, artists; anyone with a powerful and relevant voice in contemporary culture.

The programme of the first Multitude Conference shall be posted here soon.

Asian Mode of cultural transmission

One of the most important historical methods of cultural transmission in Asia has been through the various trade routes known as the Silk Road. During the Middle Ages, religions, philosophies, culture and science flowed along the routes created by traders from region to region, stretching between China and the Middle East.

Inspired by the Silk Road’s cultural legacy, the Multitude Art Prize is building a roaming platform for cultural cross-pollination, introducing artists and ideas to new audiences along the way and stimulating future projects for those involved. For this reason, the art prize and discourse programme will be located in a different region of Asia each year.

Who does Multitude work with?

As the Multitude Art Prize travels across Asia, it creates partnerships with contemporary art institutions in each region to host the art prize, exhibition and discourse programme. The host institution works with the Multitude Art Prize to invite speakers for the discourse programme from across Asia. As the institution changes each year, the speakers and perspective changes.

Each year the Multitude Art Prize works with an institution from a region outside of Asia, who will invite speakers from their region. 
This partnership process brings contemporary ideas from outside of Asia into the discourse process.

The partner institution for Multitude Art Prize’s first edition is the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing and the Discourse Partner is L’Internationale, the network of European museums comprising:
Július Koller Society, Bratislava, Slovakia   
Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, The Republic of Slovenia
Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain
Museum of Modern Art in Antwerp (M KHA), Antwerp, Belgium
SALT, Istanbul, Turkey
The Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Barcelona, Spain
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands