An Awakening of Self-awareness, Singapore Biennale 2016

A Flow of Identities and A Breath of Wills provided a constellation of artistic perspectives that provide unexpected ways of seeing the world and ourselves.

A Flow of Identities
Entangled in the contingencies of experience, the concepts and formation of national, regional, cultural and individual identities are recognised as mutable and ever in flux, wavering between being and becoming.

Singapore Human Resources Institute by Ade Darmawan
Darmawan’s work continues his interest in the peripheral histories of capitalism and their relationship with contemporary life. Its entry point is the Singapore Human Resources Institute, established in 1965 to promote excellence in human resource management and development – an integral role then, as now, for Singapore’s economic development.

The installation comprises objects once found in offices and domestic environments in Singapore as well as Indonesia, in an imagined space commemorating the institute’s achievements.

Dollah Jawa (2016) by Faizal Hamdan
The work engages with the history of the Japanese occupation of Brunei during World War II, as well as the artist’s personal family history. Two series of images are cast as projections on either side of a fabric screen.

Sugoroku- Anxiety of Falling from History (2016) by Nobuaki Takekawa
In this installation, Takekawa continues his experiments with maps, realised with irreverent humour. It comprises a set of tables holding board games and maps, with paintings and prints on the wall that elaborate on the historical and social themes of the work.

Setting off (2016) by Marine Ky
Ky traces the history of pattern-making back through time and space. Incorporating examples of Peranakan lace and embroidery patterns (obtained from Cambodia, China, Hong Kong and Korea), the artist imprints, etches and prints them over Khmer motifs using intaglio printing and Khmer engraving techniques – thus forming hybridised patterns that amalgamate the multiple layers of aesthetic influence in Peranakan and Khmer cultures.

A Breath of Wills
Encountering injustice, selves resist, sometimes acting on behalf of others, often at personal cost; yet the silenced, in finding their voice and agency, also face the limits of representation.

Putar Alam Café by Azizan Paiman
‘Putar Alam Café’ is an interactive space with a transistor radio, a television broadcasting a news channel (with the volume muted), and recent works by the artist.

China Action (1999) by Wen Pu Lin
‘China Action’ is another of Wen’s signature works, documenting the Beijing-centred yet nationally influential art movements of the 1980s and 1990s, with a particular focus on the emergence of performance art and its impact on contemporary art.

Ling Long Tower (2015) by Zang Hong Hua
‘Ling Long Tower’ by Zang Honghua is inspired by Wen’s two films and investigates the Songzhuang Artists Village in Beijing. These three films capture the Chinese art world from the 1980s to 2011 in a humorous and quick-witted style, as it vigorously yet chaotically evolved from its earlier ‘wild’ state into a mature presence in the global art world.

Unwalked Boundaries (2016) by S.Chandrasekaran
Building on Chandrasekaran’s exploration of body and identity, this installation – in the form of “an intention to walk” – focuses on the thousands of Indian convicts who, from 1825 to 1873, were transported to Singapore and served their sentence as manual labourers.

Soap Blocked (2016) by H.Tein Lin
A map of Myanmar, painstakingly constructed of a thousand squares of sculpted Shwe Wah soap, testifies to the artist’s tumultuous life. While in prison for almost seven years, he made art on scraps of fabric, prison uniforms – and in soap. From a bar of soap, he carved a little captive human figure, trapped within the claustrophobic confines of four walls.

Hearings (2016) by Jack Tan
As an artist-in-residence at CJC and the Courts, Tan attended court proceedings, listened to the soundscape of the courts, paying attention to the use of voice, and documented what he heard as drawings. The artist turned his drawings into graphic scores, which were then interpreted and sung by the Anglo-Chinese Junior College Alumni Choir.

Singapore Biennale 2016: An Atlas of Mirrors
Exploring shared histories and current realities within and beyond the region, Singapore Biennale 2016 presents a constellation of artistic perspectives that provide unexpected ways of seeing the world and ourselves.

Titled An Atlas of Mirrors, the international contemporary art exhibition features site-specific and never seen before contemporary artworks by more than 60 artists across Southeast Asia, and East and South Asia.

Singapore Biennale 2016 is organised by the Singapore Art Museum, commissioned by National Arts Council and and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth of Singapore.

Singapore Art Museum
The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) focuses on international contemporary art practices, specialising in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

Housed in a restored 19th-century mission school, Singapore Art Museum opened its doors in 1996 as the first art museum in Singapore. Also known as SAM, the museum is now a contemporary art museum.

SAM has built one of the world’s most important public collections of Southeast Asian contemporary artworks, with a growing component in international contemporary art. SAM draws from its collection and collaborates with international contemporary art museums to co-curate and present contemporary art exhibitions. Contemporary art of the region is also given international exposure through SAM’s travelling exhibition programme and collection loans.