The prestigious prize is awarded to the artist by a jury of international experts, including Karola Kraus, General Director, mumok Vienna; Bettina Steinbrügge, Director, Mudam Luxembourg; Susanne Pfeffer, Director, MMK Frankfurt; Gabriele Knapstein, Acting Director and Head of Collection, Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin; and Uli Sigg, Swiss collector and patron of the arts. The prize includes the acquisition by Baloise of works by the artist on behalf of two major European institutions: the MMK, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt and the MUDAM, Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg.
In Portraits, a project specifically conceived for Art Basel 2023, Soft Opening presents five moving-image character portraits by Sin Wai Kin. Portraits continues the artist’s exploration of storytelling as a means to interrogate binaries and create fantasy narratives, which interrupt normative processes of desire, identification, and objectification. Drawing on personal experiences of existing beyond categories, Sin’s practice pivots around performance, moving image, writing and print to question idealised images, constructed identities and binary conceptions of consciousness.
At Art Basel, Sin presents five characters in nearly life-size filmed portraits, extending their ongoing project of using drag as a medium of embodied speculative fiction. Drawing on traditional roles in Cantonese and Peking Opera, each character personifies different themes and research: “The Universe”, a warrior god embodying the binary of an individual and its context; “Change”, the embodiment of the constant of change; “Wai King”, an exploration of unbridled masculinity; “The Construct”, the embodiment of the binary of good and evil, and “The Storyteller,” Sin’s iconic personification of the role of storytelling in culture. Upon close reflection, these living portraits reveal the strain of holding one position — or existing as a single selfhood. Found across various existing films and performances, these imagined figures reappear in different contexts, creating new constellations in the artist’s expanding universe with each work.
About the artist
Sin Wai Kin’s first solo exhibition in Italy, Dreaming the End, is now open at Fondazione Memmo, Rome. The artist’s recent film, A Dream of Wholeness in Parts (2021) was nominated for the 2022 Turner Prize, and included in the touring exhibition the British Art Show 9, as well as being screened at the British Film Institute ’s 65th London Film Festival. Recent solo exhibitions include A Dream of Wholeness in Parts at Soft Opening, London (2022); It’s Always You at Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong (2021); She’s Hopeful (2018) at Soft Opening, London (2020); Narrative Reflections on Looking at Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (2020) and Indifferent Idols at Taipei Contemporary Art Centre, Taipei (2018).
Sin’s work has recently been included in group exhibitions at Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2023); The Sunpride Foundation, Hong Kong (2023); Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2022); British Museum, London (2022); Shedhalle, Zurich (2021); Bronx Museum, New York (2021); Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai (2021); M HKA, Antwerp (2020); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2019) and Hayward Gallery, London (2018). Their work is held in the collections of British Museum Prints & Drawings; The White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney; Ferens Art Gallery, Hull; The Ingram Collection of Modern British Art; Buffalo AKG Art Museum, Buffalo; Sunpride Foundation, Hong Kong; and M+ Museum, Hong Kong.
About Soft Opening
Founded in 2018 by Antonia Marsh, Soft Opening presents UK-based and international emerging contemporary artists, often their first solo presentations in London. Focusing on work pushing conventional limits of medium or material, the gallery presents a wide range of media and practices. Soft Opening built its early program with projects that responded to the gallery’s unique first location in Piccadilly Circus Underground Station. Opening a second space in East London in 2019 saw programming strategy develop as Soft Opening began participating in international art fairs and representing artists. Programming is now focused at this East London space. In 2020 the gallery began publishing artist monographs – the first was with Tenant of Culture in 2020 followed by Gina Fischli in 2021 and Sin Wai Kin in 2022.