Sunday, January 19, 2014

Singapore Biennale 2013: If the World Changed

After much procrastination, I have finally managed to drag my lazy self down to the Singapore Biennale before it ends on 16 February 2014. Entrance fee is $10 for adults (free admission for many categories- e.g. students / NSF etc.)

Here are some of my favourites at the Singapore Biennale 2013.

1) Most meaningful 

I really liked Telok Blangah by Ahmad Abu Bakar. It features a fisherman's boat filled with a thousand glass bottles with messages from male prison inmates in Singapore, describing their hopes and aspirations. Many of these messages were touching- they express their longing for their families, their regrets and their resolve to take the right path after being released. You can write to one of them, in response to their message, to provide some hope and encouragement. 

2) Most cheem 

Sometimes, artworks can be described in such abstract and complex ways. For this installation, there is a huge puddle of chinese ink. According to the description of this installation by Nguyen Huy An, it is meant to portray the fact that beneath the illustrious and rich Chinese culture, there are secrets and corruption. Beats me how he actually thought about this, but his thought process is pretty interesting (even if the exhibit itself was not particularly interesting). 

3) Most interesting

Let me put this straight- I absolutely loved this installation so much that I actually laughed. The foreigner next to me must be thinking what was so funny about this. A video installation by Boo Junfeng, he imagines a Singapore that is still part of Malaysia. I didn't know about this, but it appears there was a song "Happy And Free" which was commissioned in 1963 to commission this merger. You can't miss this installation! 

4) Most controversial 

At the National Museum, there is the installation where the work comprises of chandeliers. The work by Ken Yonetani and Julia Yonetani was conceived in response to the nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011. The chandelier frames have been refitted with uranium glass and UV lighting and the UV bulbs cause the glass beads to glow in green. What's so controversial about this? Visitors have complained that no signs have been put up to caution against the radiation. 

5) Most playful 

Art does not have to be heavy going- Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina will tell you that. In this series of videos, the artists (and/or pranksters) show how they bring play into everyday life- for example, placing a squeaky toy beneath the pavements so that it squeaks when pedestrians walk past, or making a massive ball using food wrappers. 


Overall, I would say that 2-3 hours will be sufficient to cover the Singapore Art Museum + SAM at 8Q. The bulk of the exhibits/installations are there. If you have nothing over the weekend, make a trip down! 

Click here for website. 

Tickets on sale:
Singapore Art Museum, SAM at 8Q, National Museum of Singapore, Peranakan Museum and Sistic. 

Validity of tickets:
Visit the SAM and SAM at 8Q on the same day. Venues at National Museum and Peranakan Museum can be accessed on a different day. 

Guide book?
A Short Guide will be provided upon the purchase of a ticket. 


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