Monday, November 04, 2013

A quick overview of the Singapore Biennale 2013

The Singapore Biennale is here again. In essence, it is Singapore's biennale of contemporary art. The theme of Singapore Biennale 2013 is If the World Changed. The theme, as mentioned in the Biennale's short guide, is "an invitation to artists to respond to and reconsider the worlds we live in, and the worlds we want to live in". The artworks at the Singapore Biennale reflect how the artists think about this very theme.

This year's biennale focuses on Southeast Asia as a zone of art practice. There were a few works by artists from other parts of Asia as well. Interestingly, 27 distinguished curators from the participating countries were engaged to select recent or newly created works for this biennale.

Lim Shing Ee and Kazunori Takeishi's "Mangrowe".
At SAM@8Q.
A whimsical sculpture that makes us ponder over the dichotomy of the natural and the technological.

What could a layperson or an art enthusiast take away from Singapore Biennale 2013? Other than exposing one's visual senses to the various forms of visual or experiential art, Singapore Biennale 2013 will engage its visitors to think about the world that we live in, be it in the past, the present or the future. Be prepared to be nudged to reflect and to think.

Eko Prawoto's "Wormhole" has left an impression.
At the National Museum of Singapore.
What would it be if the buildings that we live in were made of bamboo?

If you prefer an easier way to appreciate some of the nuances and the meanings behind the artwork, it is strongly recommended that you join one of the guided tours. Otherwise, it may help if you visit the Singapore Biennale 2013 with a friend so that you can have someone to engage in a conversation with after viewing each of the artworks. For the people who loves journaling, it may help to write down your thoughts and reflections from your visit to the Singapore Biennale 2013 on a journal.

Lai Chee Kien's "National Theatre@50".
Near Tank Road. Opposite Fort Canning Park.
Remembering the National Theatre of Singapore that was opened in 1963 and demolished in 1986.

Singapore Biennale 2013 feautres the works of 82 artists and artists collectives. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the treats to numerous contemporary artworks from the Southeast Asian region. If time is not an issue, it may help to spread out your visits to the nine venues over the course of at least two days. Please plan in ample time to take a good break between your visits to the various venues. Too much of good art in a single seating can be an overdose.

Shirley Soh's "Seeing (from) the Other".
At the Peranakan Museum.

Even if it could be an overdose, the Singapore Biennale 2013 is not to be missed if you are concerned about the state of the contemporary art in the Southeast Asian region. Somehow, I was reminded that there is a sense of shared humanity between the various Southeast Asian countries.

If it was due to budget issue that had held you back from attending the Singapore Biennale 2013, you will be delighted to know that there will be free entry to selected Singapore Biennale venues from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. during the Biennale's Open House. The two upcoming ones will be during Christmas (25 Dec 2013) and Chinese New Year (1 Feb 2014). Mark the dates on your diary please.

Kumari Nahappan's "Anahata" (2013).
At the Singapore Art Museum.
A visually stunning work with a very thoughtful idea of change.

Singapore Biennale 2013
26 Oct 2013 - 16 Feb 2014

No comments: