The Singapore Art Museum's (SAM) sixth edition of the Singapore Biennale – Every Step in the Right Direction, explores curatorial and artistic themes common to our human conditions and the catalytic role ‘hope’ plays in pushing for change. 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.
Artistic Director: Dr. Patrick Flores
Curatorial Team: 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 Singapore Biennale draws inspiration from both the need and the opportunity to offer a broadly conceived condition of change. This gesture begins with the artist expressing awareness of what is not right with the world, and proposing possible ways to address it.
Animated by the title Every Step in the Right Direction, the Biennale puts its faith squarely in the intelligence of the artist to re-work the world, and to re-world the work, from the perspective and position of Southeast Asia, which at once extends and deepens as it comes in contact with a wider, denser globe through the restive waters surrounding the region. The Biennale invites the audience to be open to such a work and such a world as it restores hope as a medium with which to transform both everyday life and ecology. It begins with a step, a decision to do it with others, a move that risks grappling with contrary visions of what is right. The reiteration of this act, every rehearsal (preparation, experiment, run-through, exercise) of the performance, leads in the right direction because it is honed in urgent yet generous deliberation and is also subjected to intense reflection.
A cross between a seminar and a festival, an archive and a workshop, the Biennale prompts the audience to cherish the joy of experiencing art and, at the same time, value the moment of contemplation that this distinct encounter brings. It endeavours to excite the agency of the public as well as their patience to spend time to listen, understand, move with others and create change, step-by-step, with what is foreseen to be a forgiving and less formidable humanity.
Boedi Widjaja | Black—Hut, Black—Hut
Conceived as a co-commission between the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) and SAM, Singaporean artist Boedi Widjaja’s Black—Hut, Black—Hut is a diptych to the first iteration of the work at the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in 2018. Black—Hut, Black—Hut, 2019, is a site-specific architectural installation with surfaces rendered in salt-infused concrete, which ‘blooms’ and changes appearance over time. Elements within the structure reference the raised flooring in various vernacular architectures, including the Queenslander house, the Javanese joglo, the Malay attap found in Singapore fishing villages, and void deck spaces of Singapore’s HDB apartment blocks. Through the installation, Boedi investigates concerns regarding diaspora, hybridity, travel and isolation through his own lived experience of migration, culture and aesthetics.
Image: Boedi Widjaja, detail of salt-infused concrete from Black— Hut, Black—Hut, 2019. Image courtesy of the artist.