SINGAPORE BIENNALE 2019 WILL BE TITLED
“EVERY STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION”

SB2019, led by Patrick Flores and a team of curators, will take place at National Gallery Singapore, Gillman Barracks, and other cultural venues in Singapore

The Singapore Biennale 2019 Artistic Director and curatorial team. From left to right: Mr. John Tung, Ms. Goh Sze Ying, Mr. Renan Laru-an, Mr. Patrick Flores (Artistic Director of SB2019), Ms. Andrea Fam, Ms. Anca Verona Mihulet, and Mr. Vipash Purichanont. Image courtesy of Singapore Art Museum.

Singapore, 24 January 2019 - The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) announces the title of the sixth edition of the Singapore Biennale – Every Step in the Right Direction. Through this title, Singapore Biennale 2019 (SB2019) will explore curatorial and artistic themes common to our human conditions and the catalytic role ‘hope’ plays in pushing for change. SB2019 will pivot on Southeast Asia, and from there, extend to the rest of the world. Taking place from 22 November 2019 to 22 March 2020, the four-month long international contemporary art exhibition is organised by SAM and commissioned by the National Arts Council, Singapore. SB2019 will feature several site-specific and commissioned contemporary works never seen before on the biennale circuit.

SB2019 Title – Every Step in the Right Direction
Helmed by Patrick Flores as SB2019 Artistic Director, and with a curatorial team of six members from Singapore, Southeast Asia and beyond, Singapore Biennale 2019: Every Step in the Right Direction focuses on the imperative of making choices and taking the steps to consider current conditions and the human endeavour for change and betterment.

SB2019 reflects on the potential and abilities of the artists to rework the possibilities of the world. It also invites the audience to be open to such works and to such a world that is made different through the making of these works, and, thus, also attempting to make the world right. Through the act of artistic exploration, SB2019 invites participation to transform the world around us, and to get things done the right way. This process begins with a step, from a crucial decision to make changes happen. The reiteration of this commitment leads to the right direction – a direction that each of us is entitled to move towards. Informed by such an impulse, SB2019 offers a sustainable, self-renewing project of change, and moves everyone to act – to make a step.

Patrick Flores, Artistic Director of SB2019 explains, “It may be said that the world is troubled. To sense such a state of flux is to acknowledge the situation and begin to face it. For Singapore Biennale 2019: we ask – what is the possibility of art, the artist, and the audience in light of this trouble? What is the responsibility of the artwork, its making, and its experience in the prospects of future action? As we believe, every effort to change the world for the better matters. SB2019 puts its faith squarely in the potential of art and its understanding to rework the world, expressed in the Biennale title: Every Step in the Right Direction.”

Singapore Biennale 2019 Teaser: Saturday, 26 January 2019 from 4pm – 9.30pm
During Singapore Art Week 2019, a special SB2019 Teaser programme featuring the Biennale curators and four SB2019 artists will offer the public a sneak preview of SB2019 through artist-curator talks, screenings, and experimental performances.

Artists who will be featured in the SB2019 Teaser include: Arnont Nongyao (Thailand), Dennis Tan (Singapore/Japan), Zai Tang (Singapore/United Kingdom), and Vandy Rattana (Cambodia).

A comprehensive list of participating artists will be released later in 2019.

SB2019 Curatorial Model
The SB2019 curatorial team, comprising curators with both independent and institutional backgrounds, come on board with a wide spectrum of interests and experiences that afford opportunities for invigorating conversations and deliberations.

The team consists of a combination of in-house and external curators, including SAM Assistant Curators Ms. Andrea Fam and Mr. John Tung, National Gallery Singapore Assistant Curator Ms. Goh Sze Ying, Manila-based independent researcher and curator Mr. Renan Laru-an, art historian and Seoul-based independent curator Ms. Anca Verona Mihulet, and Bangkok-based independent curator Vipash Purichanont.

The members of the SB2019 curatorial team were chosen to address the goal of the Biennale: to create a more dynamic relationship between the art world and the larger social context. Born in the eighties and early nineties, the six curators offer an additional perspective from their generation, with an aim to enhance the potential of SB2019 to fully engage with the ‘current’ atmosphere of both discourse and expression.

The team will be led by Patrick Flores, the first external Artistic Director of the Singapore Biennale since SAM took over as organiser,1 where previous editions were led by the Directors of SAM.

Dr June Yap, SAM’s Director of Curatorial, Programmes and Publication says, “The Singapore Biennale is envisioned by SAM as an opportunity to engage with the public on matters of the human condition through contemporary art, its contexts and related discourses. The appointment of Patrick Flores as Artistic Director for SB2019 puts into practice SAM’s commitment to enriching exchanges and championing aesthetic appreciation. As a contemporary art museum, the histories, developments and turns of the ‘contemporary’ are of great interest to us. Amongst such developments and interests of contemporary artists, which we observe and present in our exhibitions and programmes, is the reflection on common concerns. Such reflections are crucial to our understanding of the world and our intertwined experiences. We are thus encouraged by the Biennale’s proposition as set forth by Patrick and the curatorial team – of the meaningfulness of the aesthetic act and its potential for positive transformation – and hope that this will be experienced by both artists and audiences alike.”

In addition, an SB2019 Steering Committee comprising experts from different fields – from academia to arts practitioners such as playwrights, intellectuals, curators – has also been convened to share independent advice with the SB2019 curatorial team. The Steering Committee members care deeply about the positive role of art and artists in helping shape the way we see the world.

Key SB2019 Venues
SB2019 will take place from 22 November 2019 to 22 March 2020 in multiple nodes across a network of sites and will feature prominently at National Gallery Singapore and Gillman Barracks. Following the model of the 2016 edition, other cultural and heritage venues – including venues within the Bras Basah Bugis precinct – will also be explored to house SB2019 artworks.

The Singapore Biennale 2019 is an affiliate of the Singapore Bicentennial.

More details can be found in the Annexes.
Images can be downloaded at https://suttonpr.egnyte.com/fl/nlTlKP5ZZj

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