Singapore Biennale 2019 (SB2019) returns for its sixth edition, with 77 artists and art collectives from 36 countries and territories. Titled Every Step in the Right Direction, the international contemporary art exhibition invites the public to engage with the act of artistic exploration, drawing on the importance of making choices and taking steps to consider the conditions of contemporary life and the human endeavour for change. Commissioned by the National Arts Council and organised by SAM, the Singapore Biennale will run from 22 November 2019 until 22 March 2020 across 11 venues in the city.
Premiering at SB2019, Larry Achiampong will present Relic Traveller 3, a new work recounting the journey of a traveller against the haunting backdrop of a post-Brexit United Kingdom. Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang collaborate on a virtual reality work where the beholder is faced with a flux of possibilities in a sublime process of accumulation and disappearance. Hong Kong-based duo C&G create an interactive installation that invites members of the public to test their status as a ‘ghost.’ In a seven-channel video installation, presenting materials drawn from the CAMSTL archive, audiences can experience the fraught history and vibrant culture of Southeast Asia’s youngest nation-state, as well as the Timorese struggle for democracy and nationhood. Desire Machine Collective present Nishan II, an SB2019 commission that appropriates the cityscape and soundscape of Kashmir into an endless loop of timelessness.
In an age of rapid technological advancement and simultaneous technological obsolescence, Korakrit Arunanondchai’s SB2019 commission examines the unlikely dichotomy between traditional animist beliefs and western digitisation. The Asian Civilisations Museum becomes the location for a para-fiction modelled by Lawrence Lek, where the artist imagines an alternative world where visitors can play a game that takes them to a not-so-distant future of Singapore. The starting point of muf architecture/art’s Absentee Landlords explores the London neighbourhood of Wood Green, to unpack the ties – and tensions – between ‘home’ and the housing market. Manila-based conceptual artist and writer Judy Freya Sibayan participates as part of Céline Condorelli’s Artists’ Archives project. Bakudapan Food Study Group, •• PROPAGANDA DEPARTMENT and Mark Sanchez collaborate in a para-curatorial project to examine the legacy of the scholar and culture worker Mamitua Saber. Jason Wee presents a SB2019 commission, Quora Fora: A Rehearsal, comprising cloth, assembler-singers and a musical composition in an ongoing search for a new symbolic form of democracy.
SB2019 artists live and work in 36 countries and territories across the world.
Complementing the Singapore Biennale is a series of seven Coordinates Projects, each providing creative meeting points, chance encounters, participatory experiences and stimulating dialogues across the city. Focusing on three creative concerns – heritage, the moving image and performance – this section aims to provide a framework for discovery and organic exploration around the key concerns of the Biennale and dynamic engagement with local communities beyond traditional gallery walls.
Date: 22 November 2019 – 22 March 2020
Venues: 11 venues in the city, featuring prominently at Gillman Barracks, National Gallery Singapore, and LASALLE College of the Arts