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December 2013

 


SINGAPORE BIENNALE 2013

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Posted October 31, 2013 by in

SINGAPORE BIENNALE 2013 EXPLORES WORLD CHANGE THROUGH THE CONTEMPORARY ART OF SOUTHEAST ASIA

26 October 2013 – 16 February 2014

The fourth edition of the Singapore Biennale (SB2013), the country’s pre-eminent platform for international dialogue in contemporary art, will be launched by Acting Minister of Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Lawrence Wong. SB2013 opens to the public this Saturday 26 October 2013 to 16 February 2014. Titled If the World Changed, this Biennale invites artists to reconsider the world we live in, and the worlds we want to live in.

Featuring works by 82 artists and artist collectives from 13 countries, SB2013 has harnessed the energy of the Southeast Asian region to bring to the fore unique practices, concerns and myriad perspectives of artists from this part of the world. Drawing on the combined expertise of its team of 27 curators, a significant 93% of works are by artists or collectives from the region, resulting in the strongest Asian representation to date. A substantive number of works have also been specially commissioned for SB2013, and are being shown for the first time here.

Sookoon Ang, Exorcise Me, 2013, 4-channel video installation, duration 2:30 mins, artist collection. Image Courtesy of the Artist.  "Growing up is always a process of change and Exorcise Me addresses coming-of-age anxiety, teenage alienation and the confusing phase between childhood and adulthood. The title references the unease an adolescent feels within his or her own skin, and the yearning to get rid of newfangled fears and unfamiliar emotions. Referencing Balthus’s paintings of young girls languidly sitting around in rooms, the teenagers in the video live in a strange interior world – completely self-absorbed, with their faces hidden from us by a mask of make-up."

Sookoon Ang, Exorcise Me, 2013, 4-channel video installation, duration 2:30 mins, artist collection. Image Courtesy of the Artist.
“Growing up is always a process of change and Exorcise Me addresses coming-of-age anxiety, teenage alienation and the confusing phase between childhood and adulthood. The title references the unease an adolescent feels within his or her own skin, and the yearning to get rid of newfangled fears and unfamiliar emotions. Referencing Balthus’s paintings of young girls languidly sitting around in rooms, the teenagers in the video live in a strange interior world – completely self-absorbed, with their faces hidden from us by a mask of make-up.”

Each artist’s unique engagement with the title If The World Changed has resulted in the works coming together in unexpected ways, presenting a layered perspective for visitors to consider. Viewed holistically, the collection explores concepts such asspirituality; histories, ancestries and futures; the self and the other; exchanges as well as nature and geographies.

Dr. Susie Lingham, Director of Singapore Art Museum, said,

“As a museum, SAM has been invested in collecting, presenting and representing contemporary art and artists of the region. This Biennale was the perfect opportunity for us to showcase its complexity and dynamism, furthering our effort to raise the profile of our region’s contemporary art and artists at a much more intense level. We hope that through the artists and works presented, visitors will come away with a sense of the deep connectedness within the region, as well as an appreciation of the cultural and artistic diversity in contemporary Southeast Asia.”

Of particular note is that SB2013 reaches beyond the familiar, featuring artists who hail not only from major metropolitan centres but also from lesser known regions, allowing a multi-faceted and diverse presentation of current regional art practices as well as artistic responses. Comprising various mediums including video, installation, painting, photography, mixed media, sculpture and more, the engaging works of SB2013 aim to deepen our understanding of the sociocultural, economic, aesthetic and ideological complexities of the region.

Mr. T. K. Sabapathy, Co-Chair, SB2013 Programme Advisory Committee, said,

“The works that are featured in this Biennale offer an honest perspective of Southeast Asian contemporary art, variously imagined and consisting of accents that are uneven and emphases that are not uniform. The curatorial body of 27 individuals looked beyond the works and artists commonly seen through the centring gaze of the powers in the metropolis, offering vital variations in what is presented.”

 

BIENNALE OUTREACH PROGRAMMES

This year’s Biennale will feature a range of engaging programmes and activities in an expansion of educational and outreach efforts.

During the opening weekend, Artists and Curators in Conversation will see SB artists and curators sharing about the creative processes and ideas behind their works in person on-site. In addition, visitors can look forward to themed tours led by Singapore-based Biennale curators that will explore various topics and ideas reflected in Biennale works.

The Appreciating Art Lecture Series makes its return in 2014, presenting an overview of contemporary art development in Southeast Asia within socio-political and cultural contexts drawn from the SB2013 works.

In addition, a new range of talks, The Mapping Series, jointly organised by the Singapore Art Museum and National Library Board invites experts from diverse fields such as social sciences, cultural anthropology and arts and design, in discourses that encourage multi-layered and multi-disciplinary exploration into themes and issues of the Biennale.

For those who want a more immersive experience, workshops will be conducted with Singapore-based artists such as ZNC, Speak Cryptic, Shirley Soh, Hazel Lim and Grace Tan. Each workshop will allow participants to learn and create works of their own, based on the Biennale title.

Other special programmes include a two-day academic symposium aimed at contextualising and investigating Asian biennales and Southeast Asian art practices. (For more info on programmes please refer to Annex F)


BIENNALE RESOURCES

A smartphone application has been made available on both the Google Play and iTunes stores featuring two specially curated time-based walking trails and additional information on each artist and work. Users can also create their very own trail based around works they are interested in, or have “favourited”. When a work is “favourited”, they can be shared on Twitter or Facebook where information about the work and artist will be available to the user’s contacts.

Artist Folios are another unique resource available for the first time this biennale. Designed for educators and parents, each folio provides background information about the artist and their work, along with a glossary of terms, suggested questions, and activities to encourage children of all ages to understand each work and its themes. There are also links to articles and videos should they wish to delve even deeper into the issues explored.

 

VISITING THE BIENNALE

The Singapore Biennale 2013 will be held in a number of active art spaces in the Bras Basah.Bugis precinct, including SAM and its annex building SAM at 8Q, National Museum of Singapore, Peranakan Museum, Fort Canning Park, National Library Building, Singapore Management University and Waterloo Centre as well as Our Museum @ Taman Jurong. With the works tightly located around the city centre, visitors will be able to conveniently access and explore the wide range of works with ease. (For the complete list of exhibition venues, please refer to Annex C)

Tickets to the Biennale can be purchased from SB2013 museum venues at $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens, or online at SISTIC. Each ticket allows one-time entry to SB2013 museum venues (including permanent galleries) and one complimentary Short Guide. Visitors can enjoy free admission to Biennale artworks at outdoor venues including Fort Canning Park, Our Museum @ Taman Jurong, National Library Building, Singapore Management University and Waterloo Centre.(For more info on the visitor information, please refer to Annex E)

SB2013 is organised by the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, the National Arts Council and the National Heritage Board.

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