The third edition of the Singapore Biennale
(SB2011) opens its doors to the public from 13 March to 15 May 2011. Led by Artistic Director Matthew Ngui and curators Russell Storer and Trevor Smith, SB2011 is organised by the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) of the National Heritage Board and supported by the National Arts Council, Singapore. The works are presented across four exhibition venues SAM and SAM at 8Q, the National Museum of Singapore, the Old Kallang Airport and Marina Bay. A selection of 63 artists from 30 countries has been invited to participate this year, with a total of over 151 works exhibited under the title Open House.
Open House is conceived not as a theme but as an invitation into contemporary art practices. It examines the tearing down of boundaries between the public and private, and the manner in which differences are bridged through interaction and exchanges between these thresholds. Focusing on the process of making art, SB2011 looks at these artistic journeys in relation to the daily transactions and encounters within this fluid space that straddles between communal and personal spaces. As a result, more than half the works presented are commissioned or site-specific, offering visitors the opportunity to view new work from leading artists across the world, particularly from Southeast Asia and Asia.
Names to look out for include Candice Breitz and Martha Rosler. Breitz is presenting for the first time, her entire multi-channel video installationsFactum, in which seven sets of identical twins (and one set of identical triplets) speak candidly about their lives; while Rosler's public garden project at the Old Kallang Airport, realised in collaboration with the local community and feminist groups, is another noteworthy work aimed at communicating particular histories and narratives of the exhibition site. Expect also the works of other artists such as Charles Sandison, Elmgreen & Dragset, Martin Creed, Phil Collins and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.
As part of SAM's efforts to build audiences for contemporary art, programmes to include the participation of youths in Singapore in the Biennale were introduced. These include Self-Portrait, Our Landscape (SPOL), the Biennale's key year-long outreach project in which over 3000 students from over 40 primary and secondary schools had participated in, the Young Art Writers Programme, an educator's kit as well as exhibition captions specially for young visitors.
Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi's The Merlion Hotel was launched at the Reception, while the Open House Party opened the doors of the Old Kallang Airport, Singapore's first civilian airport, to the public once more after more than five decades. A series of curators' and artists' were held on 12th and 13th March at various Biennale sites, with a total of 35 informative talks, discussions and keynote lectures, along with the Singapore Premiere of film maker Tan Pin Pin's The Impossibility of Knowing.
A celebration of not just the artistic expressions of the various contemporary art fields, but also the originality and creativity of some of the best minds in the art scene, SB2011 opens to the public from 13 March to 15 May.