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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.

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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.

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Between You and I, Anthony McCall – a light installation that was so soothingly hypnotic, it felt like I was in a different realm. Pity my iPhone camera does no justice to the piece.

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Jane Lee’s Raw Canvas. Not sure why had I the urge to pluck the stringy bits of paint out.

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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!

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This was too cute – a sculptural installation of woollen yarn has inspired me to pick up knitting. The vibrant colours spell HAPPY (in caps, no less).

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Operation Supermarket was very witty – the commodity of products we use everyday has never been more symbolic.

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Erlich’s Hair Salon was extremely clever, can you see what’s curious about this picture?
(There’s no mirror, items were placed in another room to recreate the reflection!)

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Even the artist statement was a printed reflection!

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Cheo Chai Hiang and his piece Teh Tarik (Courting After School 1950’s Style) reminds us how modern day courtship is anything but cordial.

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A neon tube swing – reminiscent of childhood and innocence.

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Varini’s orange streaks flash past South Beach’s interior.

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Had a bit of a vain moment while marveling Impossibility of the Superstring Theory.

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Z attempts to hop on a helicopter as the overwhelming smell of soap floods the compound.

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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.

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The End of History. Yes, indeed. Some idiots are spreading this.

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And together, that might make it two hundred years of solitude.

And I wonder, would Z not strangle me if we were left in solitude for two centuries. My bet’s, no.

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4 Comments

  1. YOU KNIT?!!!
    *claps hands*
    Welcome to Auntieland! LOL=D

  2. thanks for the pictures kim

    chris n i will be heading down to the various locations to view the works today.

    thanks for the heads up of Hans Op de Beeck’s work not being cold at all.

    i was hoping that it was near zero or something…

  3. Ooh, I like Wit Pimkanchanapong’s massive Google Earth image-map of Singapore. That’s inspiration for making functional wallpaper.

  4. Diyan: No knitting just yet, will reserve it for my days of retirement – I’ll be on my faithful rocking chair surrounded by my entourage of cats and knitting at the celebration of spinsterhood!

    Dezzo: Yup, if you’re in your usual berms and sandals, you’d do just fine!

    Kevin: I wonder how the installation looks like now, probably has alot more stickers since I last visited SB2008 during it’s first weekend!


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