The fourth edition of Singapore’s premier contemporary art exhibition, Singapore Biennale 2013 (SB 2013) is titled “If The World Changed.” It will be held from 26 October 2013 to 16 February 2014.
IF THE WORLD CHANGED
The Southeast Asian region has historically been the corridor of the major civilisations, as well as a place of complex cultural interactions. Within this fluid region, many individuals and populations inhabit different spheres of existence and social realities, from agrarian communities, coastal settlements, to urban metropolises. In the 21st century, Southeast Asia and Asia are also increasingly active participants in current globalising movements. These changes have surfaced localised responses to issues of land, water, borders, resources, memory and identity, among others. However, the experiences of change have also been uneven and varied across the region, giving rise to multi-faceted responses, including organised activism, subtle personal gestures and philosophical meditations. Against this backdrop of past and continuous change, artists have been reflecting, mediating, envisioning, and making propositions. “If The World Changed,” is an invitation to reconsider the world we live in, and the worlds we want to live in.
Elaborating on this year’s title and focus, Mr. Tan Boon Hui, Director of Singapore Art Museum (SAM) said, “The Singapore Biennale is dedicated to contemporary art’s propositions for our changing worlds. With this edition we hope to encourage artists and audiences to respond to their lived experiences and explore what kind of worlds they want to live in. We seek to explore these questions through the work of Southeast Asian and Asian artists; a majority of artists presented at SB 2013 will be from this most dynamic of regions, reflecting, mediating, and envisioning responses to their changing worlds, whatever it may mean to them!”
To harness the energy of the region and build a distinctive Asian identity for the Singapore Biennale, SB 2013 will adopt a bold new collaborative curatorial structure comprising a team of co-curators . More than 20 art professionals with distinct local knowledge of regional art practices are on board to offer their viewpoints and local knowledge. SB 2013 promises a showcase of new artists and fresh works from the region.
With the benefit of tapping on differing curatorial perspectives, SB 2013 will serve as a premier international platform for artist presentation and discourse, and as a leading entry point into regional contemporary art practices, in the context of developments worldwide. This new format, which sees the combined efforts of individuals who each bring specific expertise and understanding, also allows SB 2013 to expand its focus beyond the major metropolitan centres to present a greater diversity of artistic responses.
Elaborating on the new structure and working processes, Mr. Tan said, “We are excited to be adopting this brave way of working which draws on the formidable expertise and locale-specific knowledge of the co-curators. Their combined contribution is powerful in allowing us to present on this international platform a more exciting and layered picture of current regional art practices. We hope to present the artistic creativity and dynamism that is here in Southeast Asia and Asia, and suggest how contemporary art can inform our understanding of our changing worlds. The public can look forward to many works not seen before at any other biennale worldwide.
“With this new curatorial structure we also hope to identify more artists from Singapore and the region and provide them with the opportunity to showcase their works within a global context to international audiences.”
The co-curators – educators, researchers, curators, and artists – include Tay Swee Lin, Seng Yu Jin, Tamares Goh, Charmaine Toh, Tan Boon Hui, Khairuddin Hori, Joyce Toh, Tan Siu Li, David Chew, Naomi Wang, Michelle Ho, Fairuz Iman Ismail, Faizal Sidik, Yee I-Lann, Aminuddin TH Siregar “Ucok”, Mia Maria, Claro Ramirez, Kawayan de Guia, Charlie Co, Abraham Garcia Jr., Ark Fongsmut, Angkrit Ajchariyasophon, Tran Luong, Nguyen Nhu Huy, Erin Gleeson, Misouda Heuangsoukkhoun, and Aye Ko. More curators will be announced at a later date.
BIENNALE OPEN CALL
SB 2013 is inviting artists to submit their proposals for consideration. All material will be reviewed by members of the curatorial team and shortlisted artists may be invited for further discussion with the curators and possible inclusion in the Biennale. The open call begins today and will close on 21 December 2012.
BRAS BASAH-BUGIS PRECINCT VENUES
SB 2013 will take place across a number of active art spaces in the Bras Basah-Bugis precinct. The precinct is filled with rich cultural institutions and icons which SB 2013 will partner with. At the same time, SB 2013 hopes to inject cultural vibrancy into the area.
SB 2013 is organised by SAM of the National Heritage Board and supported by the National Arts Council. It will run from 26 October 2013 with the Vernissage on 24 & 25 October 2013.