SINGAPORE PAVILION OPENS!
La Biennale di Venezia - 52nd International Art Exhibition
10 June – 21 November 2007
Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti,
Campo S. Stefano, 2842
Artists: Da Wu Tang, Vincent Leow, Jason Lim, Zulkifle Mahmod
Commissioner: Lim Chwee Seng; Curator: Lindy Poh
The Singapore Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition opened yesterday with the crashing of Jason Lim’s Just Dharma, a 300cm x 120cm chandelier form composed of 1500 glowing porcelain lotus flowers. The work was dropped from the ceiling and ‘smashed’ onto the Pavilion floor in a visually captivating and exhilarating one-off performance.
At the opening were Guest-of-Honour, Edmund Cheng, Chairman, National Arts Council (NAC), Lee Suan Hiang, Chief Executive Officer, NAC and over 200 guests comprising artists, artistic directors, curators, critics, academics, members of the media and biennale organizers.
Singapore’s 4th consecutive presentation at the Venice Biennale presents new site-specific works by four notable Singaporean artists – Da Wu Tang, Vincent Leow, Jason Lim and Zulkifle Mahmod. Jointly presented by the National Arts Council, Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum, the Commissioner for the Singapore Pavilion is Lim Chwee Seng, Director of Visual Arts, NAC and the Curator is Lindy Poh.
Themed Figments, Fictions and Fantasies, the Pavilion reflects the common thread in the artists’ works which explore myth, imaginary constructs, illusions, simulated or altered realities. Stoking the ideas of Empire, of the Nomadic Traveller, of Migration and Peregrinations, of Hybridity, and at its core, the idea of Freedoms, the works harbor the potential to harness certain ideals and ideas that offer alternative perspectives or paradigms. The result is a showcase that offers a visceral and impactful experience for viewers, tangibly bridging and marrying visual and aural elements of both Singapore andVenice.
Bringing the four artists together, the Pavilion characterises key aspects of their practices at pivotal junctures of their development to present a trans-generational survey of contemporary artists and practices in Singapore. It is a window into the individuality, yet close interlinks between practitioners in Singapore today.
Tang is a prominent leader in contemporary Asian art practice, and is widely regarded as a pioneer of performance art in Singapore. Leow is a pivotal figure in alternative art practices whose works are celebrated for capturing the energy, visual language and attitudes of the vanguard of its time. A leading contemporary ceramics sculptor, Lim combines performance art practices in his presentations. Sonic or sound sculptor-artist Zulkifle is a prime figure in the emerging new media field in visual arts.
Whilst individualistic in their expressions and practice, the artists share many areas of intersections or convergence in their artistic ideals and concerns, including performance art and initiating and managing artist collectives in Singapore. Together, they present a resonating experiential showcase at the Pavilion that many will be able to relate to.
“Singapore’s participation in the Venice Biennale is part of the Council’s strategy to nurture and develop visual art practices in Singapore, and showcase the strength and diversity ofSingapore artists and artistic practices internationally. This year, the Pavilion builds on the positive reviews and reception from the international art community at the inaugural Singapore Biennale 2006, continuing the international contemporary art dialogue through the impactful line-up and contributions of our artists,” said Lim Chwee Seng, SingaporeCommissioner and NAC Director of Visual Arts.
“Presenting international traveling shows and participation in international biennales has been a key strategy in Singapore Art Museum's (SAM) pursuit to actively promote contemporary art practices from Singapore. To this extent, SAM has spearheadedSingapore's first participation in international biennales, including the Venice Biennale (2001). The 2007 Venice Biennale marks Singapore Art Museum’s 3rd collaboration with NAC as co-presenters. A multi-agency approach ensures better synergy and collaboration among agencies for optimal visual arts international programming development and engagement with the international art world,” said Kwok Kian Chow, SAM Director.
The Singapore Pavilion is sited in the 15th century Gothic and atmospheric Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, a popular location on the main island of Venice next to the Accademia Bridge. A well-known art and cultural venue and a highly-visited tourist destination, the site was important in shaping of the Pavilion’s theme and the works of the artists.
The Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition is the most established and prestigious international contemporary art event and widely regarded as one of the most significant.
We invite you to publicise the participation of Singapore at the Venice Biennale 2007.
For hi-res pictures of the Opening and all the Pavilion works, visit http://www.nac.gov.sg/venice-files/ and click on 'Singapore Pavilion Opening at VB2007'. For the details of the Pavilion works, artists and curator, click on 'Singapore at 52nd Venice Biennale'.
Refer to Annex 1 for more information.