The Korea Herald


Net art pioneer Shu Lea Cheang wins 2024 LG Guggenheim Award

By Park Se-ra

Published : March 5, 2024 - 14:58

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Taiwanese-American multimedia artist Shu Lea Cheang (LG Group) Taiwanese-American multimedia artist Shu Lea Cheang (LG Group)

LG Group said Tuesday that Shu Lea Cheang, a Taiwanese-American multimedia artist, has been named this year’s winner of the LG Guggenheim Award for her pioneering artistic journey of integrating art and technology over the past decades.

The annual award serves as a cornerstone of the LG Guggenheim Art and Technology Initiative, a dynamic five-year project aimed at supporting innovative contemporary artists dedicated to digital artwork.

Cheang, a trailblazer in the realm of Net art, has been pioneering the integration of evolving technologies into her work for over three decades. Born in Taiwan, she is adept at navigating and molding the digital realm to reflect on societal dynamics and individual identities.

Her art, characterized by its interdisciplinary approach, has consistently been at the forefront of engaging with emerging technologies, using them not just as tools but as integral components of her artistic expression — from code and virtual reality to film and performance art.

The interactive installation art 'BABY LOVE' by Shu Lea Cheang at the Palais De Tokyo, Paris in 2005 (Florian Kleinefenn) The interactive installation art 'BABY LOVE' by Shu Lea Cheang at the Palais De Tokyo, Paris in 2005 (Florian Kleinefenn)

“The LG Guggenheim Award revives an honorable tradition of the electronic industry's support for art and technology. To be recognized by an assembly of diverse jury members grants me tremendous confidence in continuing and expanding my art practice,” Cheang commented on her recognition.

Eight seminal works by the artist grace the collections of prestigious museums, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Her piece “3x3x6,” which was showcased at the 2019 Venice Biennale, received widespread acclaim for its exploration of modern surveillance issues, underscored by social media and closed-circuit TV. This work is a testament to Cheang’s courage in addressing themes such as science fiction, race and gender identity, as well as her uncanny ability to predict societal trends. Even in the late 1990s, her projects presciently envisioned the roles of alternative currencies, blockchain technology, and biotech in future societies.

A scene from Shu Lea Cheang's a sci-fi movie A scene from Shu Lea Cheang's a sci-fi movie "UKI" in 2023, screened at the Pompidou Center in Paris, France, and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, USA. (LG Group)

The selection process for the LG Guggenheim Award reached its conclusion after a distinguished panel comprising five curators and artists from renowned museums across the globe — including the United States, Italy, and South Africa — dedicated four months to evaluating works by artists who came highly recommended.

In acknowledgment of her pioneering contributions, Cheang will be granted an unrestricted honorarium of $100,000. Moreover, a public program set for May 2 at the Peter B. Lewis Theater will provide an intimate glimpse into Cheang's innovative process and her forthcoming endeavors.

“Shu Lea Cheang was one of the first to recognize the liberatory potential of the digital realm. We are thrilled to recognize her necessary work,” stated Naomi Beckwith, Deputy Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator at the Guggenheim.

“The pioneering spirit and relentless experimentation that the international jury recognized embody the fundamental values that LG wishes to share with global customers through this award,” added Seol Park, Head of Brand Management at LG Corp.

Meanwhile, the partnership of the LG Group and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum signifies engagement with technology-driven art, fostering scholarship and creating content accessible to the public across the esteemed museum’s various departments.

Shu Lea Cheang's installation art piece Shu Lea Cheang's installation art piece "Mycelium Network Society" at the Taipei Biennial in 2018. (Taipei Fine Arts Museum)