Artist Ho Tzu Nyen to represent Singapore at 54th Venice Biennale


4 June to 27 November 2011
(Vernissage: 1 to 3 June 2011)


Internationally recognised artist and filmmaker Ho Tzu Nyen has been selected to represent Singapore at the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale this year.


Known for work that persistently engages a wide spectrum of the community – actors, film producers, artists, students, musicians and the public, Young Artist Award recipient Ho’s art is characterised by three broad themes: historiography or the production of new histories spanning pre-colonial founding myths (Utama – Every Name in History is I) to art histories (4 x 4: Episodes of Singapore Art); re-interpreting historical objects from philosophical texts (Zarathustra: A Film for Everyone and No One), history painting (EARTH), and popular songs (The Bohemian Rhapsody Project); and the analysis of the production of visual aesthetic and acoustic deconstruction (NEWTON and EARTH).


This will be Singapore’s 6th consecutive presentation at the Venice Biennale. The Commissioner for the Singapore Pavilion is the National Arts Council (NAC) and the curator is June Yap, an independent curator based in Singapore. She has curated with the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (LASALLE) and the Singapore Art Museum.


The theme of the 54th Biennale, “ILLUMInations”, calls for a reflection upon the conventions through which contemporary art is viewed, and a reflection on the subjects that inspire the contemporary artist to produce works that would create an evocative experience for the viewer.


It is in this context that Ho will present a piece of work that continues his exploration of histories, in this case art history, looking at forms of illumination, luminance and transport (of being transported) in art, in the subject of clouds — clouds as embodiments of change, signs of transience, vehicles for elevation, symbols of transcendence, exercises for the imagination, engines for hallucination; clouds as objects and subjects in art such as in landscape, or as markers of a different world; and clouds represented by emptiness, or even as the unrepresentable.


Both Ho and Yap have worked on projects interrogating cultural histories, sensibilities and concerns, contextualising local art practice for an international audience. This has seen Ho’s works presented at the international festival circuits of film, performing and visual arts, including the KunstenFestivaldesArts, the Sao Paulo Biennale, the Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, and the Asia-Pacific Trienniale. His feature films have also been shown in festivals such as the Directors' Fortnight at Cannes, Venice and Rotterdam Film Festivals .As a duo, both artist and curator have worked together -in exhibitions such as Some Rooms at Osage in Hong Kong; and at national exhibitions such as Seni: Singapore 2004, Art & the Contemporary; and the Singapore Art Show.


Ho will be joining 13 other Singapore artists who have presented their works at the oldest and most prestigious global contemporary art platform over the last 10 years. They included 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), and Ming Wong (2009). The curators involved were Joanna Lee and Ahmad Mashadi (2001); Low Sze Wee (2003); Eugene Tan (2005); Lindy Poh (2007) and Tang Fu Kuen (2009).


We invite media to publicise the artist and curator who will be representing Singapore at the Venice Biennale 2011.


Please refer to the annexes for more information:

Annex A – About the Artist and Curator

Annex B – Artist’s references to clouds