Arts preview: Lumen prize exhibition comes to Hong Kong

Vanessa Yung

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 April, 2013, 10:58pm

After touring in London, Riga, Latvia, and Shanghai, the Lumen Prize Exhibition is landing in Hong Kong for a two-day exhibition. About 50 works have been selected for the show, including a piece by locally based Italian artist Marco De Mutiis.

Founded by former business journalist Carla Rapoport last year, the Lumen Prize bills itself as the first international award for digital art.

"I started the Lumen Prize to celebrate this incredible, amazing new way of creating art in our era. Our goal is to focus the world's attention on this genre of fine arts with an annual competition and a global tour of the winning works," says Rapoport, who reported for both the Financial Times and The Economist.

"Anyone can enter from anywhere in the world. The work has to be created on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. It can also be a photograph as long as it's been manipulated by software."

Rapoport says she is pleased that the Lumen Prize committee received more than 500 entries from about 270 artists worldwide in the inaugural competition, with works coming from places other than traditional art centres. The panel of adjudicators included art experts, gallery owners and academics, such as former New York Times art reporter Grace Glueck, Sotheby's Institute of Art's programme director Anne Farrer and Shanghainese painter Yang Yongliang.

Swedish artist Tommy Ingberg's Torn won the first prize last year, while British-based artist Elly Wright's iPad painting Summer Walk Beside the Hogsmill was named the People's Choice Winner.

In his piece, Neglected Chaos [Obey], artist De Mutiis used videos he captured at Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong "to visualise a random encounter of the people on an ice skating rink, with lines connecting them".

"Our random communication - in the sense of encountering - always has this moment of connection shared with other people. I have a few different clips and lots of footage I cut up and then I isolate these people and decide who they interact with, when they show up on screen and when they go out.

"By doing so, I also add the perspective from a top eye view. It seems more scientific and less random as if every encounter is actually a part of a formula. I also reflect on the fear of chaos; the idea was to make it a reflection of our acceptance of chaos. I like the idea that our brains are scared of accepting chaos ... something that is uncontrollable and irrational."

De Mutiis came to Hong Kong four years ago to read a master's degree in fine arts at the City University's School of Creative Media. Since graduation, he has worked as a research associate for the past two years. But his interest has always been in digital media.

"It's not just a self-reflection on the new media technology. It's just another medium. I remember I read a caption on the website that said something along the lines of 'Even the brush is a tool in the first place'. It fits with my work method and my view.

"What I like about digital art is it relates so much to our contemporary technological society. This medium can connect different concepts and issues present in our daily lives. The medium is more closely related to our contemporary society than the brush."

De Mutiis was one of a handful of Hong Kong artists who entered last year's competition. Rapoport says she hopes more will join this year, as it provides them with a platform to show their works.

Entries opened this month. "We are happy to talk to anyone who wants more information about how to enter," she says. "This year, we'd like to have at least 100. Hong Kong is an interesting place for digital fine arts, and I'm really hoping some of the artists can come to the show so I can meet them."


The Space, 210 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, April 25 and 26, 11am-7pm. Tel: 2361 1210