Today, Frieze announced Sung Tieu as the winner of the 2021 Frieze Artist Award. Now in its eighth year, the acclaimed prize offers an emerging international artist the opportunity to debut a major new commission on the occasion of Frieze London. Focused for the third year on moving image, the Artist Award is presented in partnership with Forma.
The annual initiative is part of Frieze London’s anchor programme of talks, collaborations and special projects. Tieu’s commission will premiere at No. 9 Cork Street on 15th October 2021, following which the artist will appear in conversation with Chris Rawcliffe. The work will be available to stream online at frieze.com thereafter.
Frieze London and Frieze Masters will return to The Regent’s Park, London from 13th – 17th October 2021, reuniting the world’s leading galleries in a celebration of the creative spirit of the city. Frieze London is supported by global lead partner Deutsche Bank, continuing a shared commitment to artistic excellence.
‘We are delighted that Sung Tieu is the recipient of this year’s Frieze Artist Award, particularly as her ongoing research into sonic warfare has an eerie prescience in light of current events. We would also like to extend our thanks to Forma for once again partnering on this initiative, demonstrating a shared understanding of the important role emerging artists play in reshaping the culture of today.’Eva Langret (Artistic Director, Frieze London)
Tieu’s winning commission was selected by a jury composed of Steven Cairns (Curator, Artists’ Film & Moving Image, ICA, London), Anna Gritz (Curator, KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin), Eva Langret (Artistic Director, Frieze London), Chris Rawcliffe (Artistic Director, Forma) and Alberta Whittle (artist). The work continues the artist’s ongoing research into the psychological dimension of warfare, acoustic weaponry and its relationship to Cold War ideologies. Titled Moving Target Shadow Detection, 2021, Tieu’s film presents a detailed reconstruction of the interior of the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana, the site of the first-known instance of sonic warfare, and the incident to which the mysterious set of medical disorders collectively termed ‘Havana Syndrome,’ owes its name. First reported by US government officials in the Cuban capital in 2016, Havana Syndrome includes a range of unexplained symptoms from nausea, fatigue and memory loss to brain injuries resembling concussions, thought to be caused by covert sonic weapons. In Tieu’s film, footage leading from the hotel’s lobby through to an occupied hotel room is shown from the viewpoint of a small flying mosquito. Rendered as nano-drone camera footage, these images analyse the architectural and technical skeleton of the hotel, speculating on how the attacks could have taken place.
Sung Tieu is an artist based in Berlin. Her work bridges conflicting emotions of the previous and coming Cold War areas. She has had institutional solo exhibitions at Haus der Kunst, Munich (2020), Nottingham Contemporary (2020) and Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig (2021). Major forthcoming institutional group exhibitions include ‘Though It’s Dark, I Still Sing,’ at the 34th São Paulo Biennale in Brazil (2021), ‘TECHNO’, at Museion, in Bolzano, Italy (2021) and ‘Art Histories of a Forever War,’ at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, in Taiwan (2021). Her forthcoming solo exhibition titled ‘FALL’ will open this October at Kunstmuseum Bonn. This year, Tieu is also nominated for the Preis der Nationalgalerie 2021, which will inaugurate mid September at Hamburger Bahnhof, in Berlin.
Forma is a contemporary arts organisation that champions ideas and artists who address the social and political questions of our times. Through a discursive process, we nurture artists’ creative vision and grow their ambition in order to develop collaborative projects that are career-defining and lead to new major opportunities around the world. We pride ourselves in being an organisation that artists want to work with. As a non-gallery-based organisation, we present projects in partnership with cultural institutions across the UK and internationally. Forma is where ideas become art.