Singapore Biennale To Host Over 70 Artists Worldwide

Featuring new commissions and site-responsive exhibits that explore the ‘festival-seminar’ concept. More highlights are announced.

Let's Walk is a public participatory performance by Amanda Heng. Image courtesy of Amanda Heng.

Let's Walk is a public participatory performance by Amanda Heng. Image courtesy of Amanda Heng at M1 Fringe Festival, 2018.

The Singapore Biennale 2019, an affiliate of the Singapore Bicentennial, has recently announced its very first artist roster by the Singapore Art Museum (SAM).

Title Singapore Biennale 2019: Every Step in the Right Direction, the visual art exhibitions is a highly anticipated four-month long international contemporary art exhibition scheduled to take place from 22 November 2019 to 22 March 2020.

Under the artistic direction of Patrick Flores, SB2019 will explore the title with over 70 artists from Singapore, Southeast Asia and beyond.

Being mindful of a rapidly changing social and political climate, the exhibition will draw on the importance of making choices and taking steps to consider current conditions and the human endeavour for change and betterment.

Every Step in the Right Direction invites the ethical gesture from both artist and public through the creative mediation of the artworks and projects on view. Its objective? To encourage the audience to reflect on right actions to take and decide on which activities to engage in, as an effort to offer possibilities for a more humane world.

And will be done through ‘festival-seminars’, where action and reflection are interwoven through the presentation of convivial, participatory, and community-responsive projects and reflective, archival, and research-oriented works.

Some of the highlights at the Singapore Biennale 2019 as below.

Alfonso Ossorio (USA)
Every effort to transform begins with introspection, a reassessment of how self-consciousness through modernism has developed and come to constitute the present production of art. A revisiting of modernist works and their juxtaposition with the art of our time will be exemplified by the presentation of artworks by artist-collector Alfonso Ossorio.

Works by Alfonso Ossorio. L-R: Mother & Child (1972); Empty Chair or The Last Colonial (1969)

Raymundo Albano (Philippines)
Providing further context of modernism and its relationship with what we now call the contemporary as a moment in the history of art is the practice of the Filipino artist Raymundo Albano, whose work as an interdisciplinary artist and a visionary curator will shed light on the constant translations of modernity.

Amanda Heng (Singapore)
Through the gathering of people, the public can make a step and decide on what could be the right direction with others in an atmosphere of warm encounters and possible solidarities. These works invite the audience – whether onlookers or participants – to affirm common aspirations as well as discuss differences. It is in this vein that Singaporean artist Amanda Heng will examine the relationship of humans to the outside world, and the inner emotional and psychological resources of the body.

Phare, The Cambodia Circus
Building on the participatory festival aspect of the Biennale, Phare, The Cambodia Circus will be commissioned to create a contact zone where people share space and create memories in a community experience.

Zakkubalan (USA) & Ryuichi Sakamoto (Japan)
Zakkubalan, in a collaboration with esteemed Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, will feature an adaptation of Sakamoto’s multimedia work that immerses audiences in a rich and ever-shifting ambient soundscape.

Zakkubalan. Photo courtesy of

Gary-Ross Pastrana (Philippines)
Gary-Ross Pastrana from the Philippines will look into the way objects and materials shape narratives and translate into different states, through the staging of a play which will be periodically activated by Singapore-based performers.

Okui Lala (Malaysia)
Decisions on making the step in the right direction require thoughtfulness and attentiveness, reflecting the other aspect of the festival-seminar presentation. These works prompt the public to pause, take stock, and consider an array of options for the change that must happen. Malaysian artist Okui Lala will create a new work – Language Class (working title) – looking at the complexity of multi-ethnicity, and how language policy organises national and personal history.

Okui was a participating artist in the 2016 Saitama Triennale and was also a recipient of the 2017 Japan Foundation Asia Centre Fellowship Grant for her artistic research project on migration, mobilities and identities in Myanmar and Japan.

Marie Voignier (France)
French artist Marie Voignier explores intense migration and relocation, sensitive contact and precarious exchange through a film on African women traders.

Soyung Lee (South Korea)
Korean artist Soyung Lee’s video installation and artefacts will investigate the conditions of the post-human and inter-species relationships, which further broadens the scope of the biennale into the realm of environment and our position in the anthropocene

One could think of Marie Voignier's work as a documentary practice when it could rather be considered as fiction, which, beyond its collective inscription finds itself sent to the heart of the intimate, in a movement of individuation.

Hu Yun (China/Serbia) & Kray Chen (Singapore)
Chinese artist Hu Yun discusses the form of the diorama in relation to craft and the cosmology of the future, revisiting and reimagining alternative histories. Singaporean artist Kray Chen’s work engages the experiences of viewers of matrimonial rites through Chinese wedding customs, while challenging cultural, social and collective norms.

Commissioned by the National Arts Council, Singapore and organised by SAM, the exhibition will take place in multiple nodes across a network of sites and will feature prominently at National Gallery Singapore and Gillman Barracks.

For new commissions and more info about the Singapore Biennale, please click here.

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