5th Singapore Biennale, “An Atlas of Mirrors”
              Qinyi Lim
              Under the artistic direction of Susie Lingham, Director of the Singapore Art Museum, and nine other curators, the fifth edition of the Singapore Biennale, “An Atlas of Mirrors,” showcases sixty artists and three artist collectives from nineteen countries and territories around South, East, and Southeast Asia. Spanning eight venues in close proximity to one another within Singapore’s art district and old Jewish quarter, the exhibition, with its clear signage and omnipresent air conditioning, provides a respite from the otherwise natural, sweltering, and mosquito-bite-inducing equatorial humidity. Despite this, a certain discomfort pervades the exhibition space. With its title and nine subthemes, the biennale would be confounding to any viewer, even without the mediation necessary for presenting contemporary art to a lay audience. Dominating wall captions fail to elucidate any ideological or social impulses behind the artworks presented, pointing to the exhibition’s slow passivity and abject apolitical nature. While some in the field have criticized previous iterations of the Singapore Biennale for being safe and leaving little room for critique, this edition’s passivity poses the question of how one deals with a decade-old biennial born of a capitalist development agenda. The Singapore government originally launched the biennale as the anchor cultural event of …
              2011 Singapore Biennale
              Pauline J. Yao
              The 2011 Singapore Biennale, under the artistic direction of Matthew Ngui and curators Russell Storer and Trevor Smith, gathers sixty-three artists from thirty countries in four different venue locations: the Old Kallang Airport, the National Museum of Singapore, the Singapore Art Museum, and Marina Bay. It is one of the more agreeable Asian biennial experiences I have had in a while, perhaps a result of its well-paced and smooth organization, with artworks clearly labeled and cogently installed. One comes to appreciate such details more and more, especially given that over the years the word “biennial” has grown synonymous for slapdash installations, bombastic curatorial frameworks, poor organization, and unintelligible or nonexistent verbiage. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that Singapore would present a polished exhibition so safe and measured that it not only obviates any stance or statement but leaves very little room for critique. Given the congenial tone and aesthetically pleasing yet neatly understated works, one could almost forget that it is a biennial at all. In fact, as I wandered through the show I kept finding myself wondering in what sense this show constitutes a biennial; and now, given the task of writing about it, I am forced to …

              e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

              Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

              Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

              Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

              Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

              Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

              I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

              Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.