Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce the appointment of Singaporean artist Robert Zhao Renhui and curator Haeju Kim as the artistic team for the Singapore Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (Biennale Arte 2024), which will run from 20 April to 24 November 2024. Recognising the museum’s expertise as a leading contemporary art institution in Southeast Asia, SAM has been commissioned by the National Arts Council (NAC) to organise the Singapore Pavilion for this edition.
The selection process for the artist for the 11th Singapore Pavilion involved a Commissioning Panel composed of representatives from the arts community. The Panel assessed the course of the artist’s research, practice and experiences through their careers, and also conducted artist studio visits as part of the selection process. SAM will work closely with the appointed artistic team to offer holistic support as they develop the presentation, allowing for the artwork to evolve through a process of collaboration and exchange.
Eugene Tan, Co-Chair of the Commissioning Panel and Director of SAM, says, “The strength and trajectory of Robert Zhao’s artistic practice and research has convinced the Commissioning Panel of his ability to present a thought-provoking presentation that speaks to contemporary global issues. We are heartened that Haeju Kim, a Senior Curator at SAM, has been approached by Zhao to support his endeavour in Venice. Given Kim’s extensive experience and expertise across disciplines and large-scale platforms, as well as the shared research synergies between Zhao and Kim, this holds potential for exploring possibilities of mutual co-existence, multi-species flourishing and more connected ways of being. As SAM continues to present resonant works that push artistic boundaries, the artistic team’s pursuit of challenging exhibitionary norms puts them in good stead to best represent Singapore at the Biennale Arte 2024. These are considerations that informed our appointment of the artistic team, and we hope that the upcoming presentation will inspire deeper reflections within the arts community and beyond.”
Low Eng Teong, Co-Chair of the Commissioning Panel and Chief Executive Officer of the NAC, adds, “This is Singapore’s 11th presentation at the Biennale Arte. We are excited for this opportunity to present art that reflects our times, sparks conversations, and positions us on this international platform. As NAC continues to propel generations of artists on the international stage, we are excited to be working with SAM to champion our artistic talents and provide them with a platform to present and engage with international audiences. NAC looks forward to further establishing Singapore as a key arts and culture node for artistic practices, as we bring forth inclusivity, vibrancy and opportunities in the arts.”
Robert Zhao Renhui is an interdisciplinary Singaporean artist who has exhibited globally in international biennales and institutions around the world and won accolades for his artistic practice. Zhao was featured in the 10th Busan Biennale (2020), 6th Singapore Biennale (2019), 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2018), 11th Taipei Biennale (2018), 17th Jakarta Biennale (2017), and 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016). Most recently, he was invited to participate in the 14th Gwangju Biennale (2023), and held a solo exhibition at the ShanghART Shanghai in March 2023.
Haeju Kim is a Senior Curator at SAM who focuses on contemporary art practices in Singapore, Southeast Asia and Asia. Previously the Deputy Director at Art Sonje Center, Kim holds deep experience in curating numerous contemporary art exhibitions and performance programmes across various disciplines. Her curatorial approach emphasises the consideration of the body, time and memory as key elements, while also engaging with topics including ecological perspectives, locality and its planetary connection, and questions of coexistence through her research.