E-flux, “Singapore Biennale 2013: If the World Changed” Online
Aided by a bold new curatorial structure, Singapore’s premier contemporary art exhibition returns with a significant Southeast Asian and Asian focus.
If the World ChangedThe 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 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!”
Curatorial ModelTo 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 over 20 co-curators—art professionals with distinct local knowledge of regional art practices offering their viewpoints and local knowledge. SB 2013 promises a showcase of new artists and fresh works from the region, with many not seen before at any other Biennale worldwide.
Through differing curatorial perspectives, SB 2013 will serve as a premier international platform for artist presentation and discourse, and 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. Organisers 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.
Biennale Open CallSB 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.
Bras Basah-Bugis Precinct VenuesSB 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.
For more information, please visit www.singaporeartmuseum.sg/sb2013.