Well as you guys know, I do work in the arts in my day job, and if you’re following my instagram @jac_theocctrav, you’ll know that I headed down with the colleagues to check out the Singapore Biennale 2013 – this contemporary arts festival last took place in 2011 with the infamous Merlion hotel, and it’s back again this year for the 2013 edition.
With 27 curators and over 80 artists mostly hailing from South East Asia responding to the theme “If The World Changed”, the works are spread out across several venues – I only managed to check out those at the Singapore Art Museum main building and National Museum of Singapore during the opening, so I’ll have to go back again to check out everything else later on.
The Singapore Biennale 2013 is on till February 2014, so fret not if you haven’t seen it yet, there’s still time! Here’s a look at some of the pix I caught on my Instagram and phone:
SINGAPORE ART MUSEUM
Front entrance of the Singapore Art Museum in the backdrop as dusk falls – this picture got featured on the Singapore Biennale FB page :)
For some reason, they were serving Guinness Beer instead of the usual stout – if you want to know how real Irish liquor tastes like, go here instead. They also gave out these Indian Jasmine flower chains which are a traditional greeting, though I’m not sure of their significance here
Payatas by Filipino artist Oscar Villamiel – it’s an entire room filled with scary doll parts that kinda looks like a nightmarish field of lalang. We voted this worst room to get locked in overnight by accident
More of the scary doll valley (that’s what I call it in my head) – there’s a little Hansel and Gretel-ish hut which is covered wall to wall in doll bodies. Now that is really quite creepy
Conducting Memories by Angie Seah – it’s an interactive sound installment where you can create your very own local sound landscapes by pressing the numbered buttons on a control board – I had fun creating a cacophony!
Little Soap Boy by Vietnamese artist Vu Hong Ninh – This little naked boy actually had a rather rude middle finger sticking up, but sadly it’s not there anymore. He’s made of soap and is in the ladies toilet on the 2nd level, I’m not sure how long he’ll last…
Peace can be realized even without order by Japanese collective teamLab – this is a must-see on the 3rd level of the Singapore Art Museum. It’s dark room filled with mirrors and holograms so you have to look where you’re going. The dancing people kinda react to your presence, and it’s really quite a sight. Pictures don’t do this justice (look out for the scary rabbit!)
Specula by Vietnamese artist Nguyen Oanh Phi Phi is a large church like archway covered in traditional Vietnamese style lacquer work. I like the grandeur, it looks much better in real life
Tiempos Muertos by Filipino artist Nikki Luna – that’s actually sugar inside these diamond shaped encasings. My colleagues first thought – GULA MELAKA YUM
These little bunch of miniatures by Indonesian artist Tony Kanwa are really, really tiny! There’s a magnifying glass on hand, but it’s pretty hard to see the detail still, you feel like you’re lording over a world of tiny people…
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE
The Wormhole by Indonesian artist Eko Prawoto – it’s a bit of an odd name for these bunch of teepee looking things, somehow you expect something called ‘The Wormhole’ to look a bit more futuristic
Roof of the wormhole – apparently much prettier during the day and casts some quite spectacular shadows
Crystal Palace: The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nuclear Nations by Ken + Julia Yonetani – I really enjoyed this work, found it very visually stunning
Unsubtitled by Nguyen Trinh Thi – they look very much like real people but are actually projections of people onto black people shaped boards. Rather cool and life like
Paranoia by Singapore artist Guo Yi Xiu – I didn’t actually realize this was a part of the Biennale until I was writing this article! That’s all made of raffia, very impressive stuff
All the venues are within walking distance of each other except for Taman Jurong which is way off in the western part of Singapore. If you are being ambitious and want to get a glimpse of all the works in one single day, I would start off with a quick round in the National Library, walk past the work at Waterloo Centre, pop into 8Q at SAM, then go to the Singapore Art Museum just next door, before walking through SMU to the National Museum of Singapore. After that to the Peranakan Museum and then to the outdoor works at Fort Canning.
A standard ticket costs $10 and lasts the entire Singapore Biennale period, though you can only enter the National Museum of Singapore and Peranakan museums once. Details here.