Xu Bing wins "2018 Star of the Year" at the 6th Agnès Varda Award, CAFA
June 25th, 2018, Beijing – the 6th Agnès Varda Award ceremony was held at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). Xu Bing was awarded the “2018 Star of the Year” for his first fiction feature Dragonfly Eyes. Filmmaker Anthony LaMolinara delivered the trophy to Xu.
Filmmaker Anthony LaMolinara (left) and Xu Bing (right)
The ninety-year-old French filmmaker and artist Agnès Varda, who just received her honorary Oscar at the Governor’s Ball, sent her congratulation message to Xu Bing through a video, “I really admire the capacity of this filmmaker. He uses the perspective of surveillance cameras from everywhere to construct a story, a screenplay, and the way he plays with it is very charming and interesting. Congratulations, Xu Bing!”
French filmmaker, artist Agnès Varda
The Agnès Varda Award, established in 2012 and dedicated to bringing experimental spirit to the mainstream, is given by the China Central Academy of Fine Arts to recognize excellence in interdisciplinary artistic achievements. Previous winners include filmmaker Wu Ershan in 2013, “the Father of Chinese Rock” Cui Jian in 2014, as well as music producer and filmmaker Gao Xiaosong in 2016.
“The source of creativity does not come from the system of art or film per se. Instead, it should be sourced from the world or society. The existing energy supplies us with new ideas and motivation,” said Xu Bing in his acceptance speech.
The work Dragonfly Eyes then had its Chinese premiere at the North Auditorium of CAFA at 2:30pm. This film, which was directed by Xu Bing, written by Zhai Yongming, and edited by Matthieu Laclau and Zhang Wenchao, is the first fiction movie with no cast or cinematographer in the history of Chinese film. The work chronicles a complex and peculiar romance story between a young woman named Qing Ting and a technician Ke Fan, while also touching upon social issues including the obsession with plastic surgery, identity crisis, exposure of privacy, and violence on the Internet.
After the ceremony and the screening, television presenter Dou Wentao and the President of the Agnès Varda Award Executive Committee, filmmaker Ning Ying hosted a talk with Xu Bing. Professor Ning Ying commented, “Watching this movie requires the audience to erase all of their previous film-watching experiences beforehand. That being said, we have to forget about our memories of watching drama or experimental works while looking at this one. It is a romantic drama film. When we are submerging ourselves in profound emotional thoughts on the plot, we are at the same time stunned by the reality which leads us to suspect our emotional thoughts and to confront with the crisis shared by human society. Xu Bing is a successful artist who has explored the contemporary art world for several decades. We can trace his consistent thinking process and methodology via this film. Dragonfly Eyes shows his long-term pursuit and exploration in art. To study the relation between this film and Xu Bing’s other works and to grasp his insights on art and societal development has a special and academic value for CAFA students. ”
Television presenter Dou Wentao (left), Xu Bing (middle), and Professor Ning Ying (right)
By Yu-Cheng Liu, an intern at Xu Bing Studio, New York.