After the resounding success of the Singapore Biennale 2006, the sophomore effort of the contemporary visual arts event looks to engage viewers with the inquisitive theme of “Wonder”. Besides providing awe and amazement, Singapore Biennale 2008 (SB2008) features 95 artists and art collectives at 19 venues. With hopes to pique curiosity and of course, wonderment, SB2008 is set to blur the boundaries of art and life.
Z and myself did our pilgrimage to SB2008 over the last two weekends, covering the three main venues – City Hall, South Beach Development and Central Promontory Site.
Recent weather has been terribly unforgiving and most of SB2008 venues lacked air-conditioning. I started to wonder (ah, what coherence to the theme) if art was meant to be experienced with beads of perspiration forming on my forehead.
Hans Op de Beeck’s Location (6) was an igloo shaped installation, his attempt to bring winter to the sunny Singapore shores. Though the interior looks pristinely white and snowy, it was on the contrary, sweltering hot. What a strange sensation to be staring into such gorgeous snow landscapes only to be sweating profusely.
Singapore, an installation by Wit Pimkanchanapong, is a massive Google Earth image-map of Singapore. Visitors were given stickers to write notes about specific areas on the map. Suddenly this red dot of an island seemed so vast, I immediately started a frantic hunt for my street. With no road names but sticker clues left by previous visitors for reference, I finally found home after five minutes. Only because someone marked the piece of land opposite my place as “This used to be a cemetary!”. Bingo!
September Sweetness seemed simple enough as a temple made of sugar. But this place of worship disintegrates during the course of SB2008, its temporal status is definitely something to think about. And I certainly didn’t expect such a holistic icon to be a mausoleum for giant red ants.
And I wonder, would Z not strangle me if we were left in solitude for two centuries. My bet’s, no.