Singapore at 53rd Venice Biennale


Singapore at 53rd Venice Biennale

7 June – 22 November 2009
(Vernissage: 4 - 6 June 2009)


Venue: Palazzo Michiel del Brusa, Cannaregio


Internationally recognised visual artist Ming Wong will represent Singapore at the 53rd Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition this year.


A graduate of the Slade School of Art (UK) and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Singapore), Wong is presently based in Berlin, Germany, where he undertook a one year artist residency at the prestigious Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in 2008. Wong has made significant in-roads internationally with his participation in numerous group and solo visual arts exhibitions in Europe, North America and Asia; notable recent showcases include theImages Festival in Toronto Canada, Vain Efforts in Sydney Australia, S1 Salon in UK and the Jakarta Biennale. Wong’s works are currently on display at the At Home Abroadshowcase at 8Q SAM, for Singapore artists who are well received overseas.


This will be Singapore’s 5th consecutive presentation at the Venice Biennale. The Commissioner for the Singapore Pavilion is Lim Chwee Seng, Director of Visual Arts & Resource Development, National Arts Council (NAC), while Tang Fu Kuen, an authority in managing multi-disciplinary arts showcases, serves as curator.


Said Lim Chwee Seng, “The Venice Biennale is a global cultural platform that provides high visibility and connectivity for participating artists and curators from around the world. Together with the Singapore Biennale and the Singapore Art Show organised by NAC in Singapore, our participation in the Venice Biennale forms part of our all-rounded approach to the development of Singapore’s traditional and contemporary art practices. This year the international art community will have the opportunity to witness the talents of Singaporeartist Ming Wong and curator Tang Fu Kuen at the Pavilion through a multi-disciplinary, multi-lingual work that embodies a strong Singaporean character.”


Being featured as a solo artist in the Singapore Pavilion this year is an acknowledgement of Wong’s highly internationalised status, and recognition of his potential. As the most established and prestigious contemporary arts event, the Venice Biennale is an excellent springboard for Singapore artists to the global visual arts stage. Singapore’s participation in what is commonly referred to as the Olympics of the art world, provides the best opportunity not only to showcase our promising arts talents, but also to gain mindshare internationally and broaden Singapore’s global art footprint.


The Singapore Pavilion, entitled Life of Imitation, stages the co-existence of multiple worlds where language, gender, appearance and traditions constantly negotiate with one another. In playful and imperfect acts of mimesis and melodrama, this exhibition attempts to hold the mirror up to the Singaporean condition related to roots, hybridity and change.


Wong explores the performative veneers of language and identity through his own re-interpretations of “world cinema” – he has created a series of multi-channel video installations inspired by classic cinematic moments from Hollywood, Europe, China andSouth East Asia. The mood is further enhanced by billboards painted by Wong and Singapore’s last surviving billboard painter Neo Chon Teck, and movie memorabilia such as photographs of old cinemas in Singapore, paintings, drawings and transcripts, depicting the creation process of Wong’s video installations and the entire exhibition itself.


Wong joins 12 other artists who have represented Singapore at the oldest and most prestigious international contemporary art platform over the last 10 years. They were Matthew Ngui, Suzann Victor, Salleh Japar and Henri Chen (2001); Francis Ng, Heman Chong and Tan Swie Hian (2003); Lim Tzay Chuen (2005); Zul Mahmod, Jason Lim, Vincent Leow and Tang Da Wu (2007). The curators were Joanna Lee and Ahmad Mashadi (2001); Low Sze Wee (2003); Eugene Tan (2005); and Lindy Poh (2007).


The 53rd Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition charts the highest number of participating countries at a record 77 country pavilions with a significant increase in number of single-artist representation.


We invite you to publicise the participation of Singapore at the Venice Biennale 2009. 


Please refer to the attached annexes for more information:

Annex 1 – Curatorial Theme
Annex 2 – Profiles of Artist and Curator


Singapore Pavilion at 53nd Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition

Exhibition date :  7 June – 22 November 2009
Vernissage :  4 June – 6 June 2009
Opening of Pavilion :  6 June 2009, 11am
Location of Pavilion Palazzo Michiel del Brusa ,Cannaregio ,4391 VENEZIA
Commissioner :  LIM Chwee Seng
Curator :  TANG Fu Kuen
Artist :  Ming WONG
Presenter :  National Arts Council, Singapore
Sponsor :  Lee Foundation


Facade of Palazzo Michiel Brusa, Cannaregio 

From left to right : Tang Fu Kuen, Curator, Ming Wong, Visual Artist, Lim Chwee Seng, Director of Visual Arts & Resource Development and Commissioner of the Singapore Pavilion