Been feeling major artistic vibes recently… went for the exhibitions over 2 weekends, quite a big feat for me honestly. This time I do feel like I learnt a lot more about art – the underlying message behind the artwork, the curation of the spaces and the positioning of the art pieces – all these do not come easy and I have to give my hats off to the curators for coming up with such an event.
While the Singapore Biennale is hosted across 6 venues, most of the art work and highlights congregate at Singapore Art Museum and 8Q, which is a good sign considering you do not have to travel far for the bulk of the exhibitions. The other venues include National Museum of Singapore, Peranakan Museum and Asian Civilisations Museum.
(Like in any award shows) In random order, I am listing down 5 of my favourite exhibition features which you could take some nice, avant-garde photos there. At least that is a must for me.
- Paracosmos – Harumi Yukutake
Upon entering SAM while you intend to head to the second floor, you might notice a lot of people trying to capture the best photo possible. Rounded mirrors fill up the walls leading up to the second floor, creating distorted reflections at different angles, depending on your position on the rounded staircase. Finding the best angle might be tricky, but the trippy feeling intrigues me a lot.
- Noah’s Garden II – Guoyuan Deng
You have probably seen many photos taken at this installation on Instagram, and indeed this is one of those which you have to queue to enter. Well-illuminated and covered with mirrors all around, you really feel like you entered into another futuristic dimension; not to mention the 2 rotating doors in the centre of the installation that made me real dizzy. The best angle in my opinion is taking your reflection on the floor, capturing the reflection from the ceiling and everywhere else like a cascade.
- Good Boy, Bad Boy – Shih Hsiung CHOU
Another reflection-themed installation (definitely not rigged) but this is different because it is the dense and viscous black petroleum that gives the reflection. I tried recreating the sample image from the handbook but what a lie because you could see yourself taking the photos through the reflection. So the photographer has to stand slightly to the side to avoid the above. The coolest thing in my opinion – the two reflections is undoubtedly different. One seemed more plump than the other and I can’t explain why.
- Home, and a Home – Rathin Barman
Located at 8Q, the steel structures that make up this installation makes you feel trapped rather than what the title suggests. The use of the lighting in the room casts shadows around helps create the emptiness of the ‘Home’ – puzzling indeed. Reading the description of the artwork, which takes inspiration from the stories of migrant workers from Bangladesh, it is no wonder one could feel this way. I took a Boomerang here instead and it turned out pretty well.
- The Unity of N Monuments – Xingtao JIAO
This is slightly underwhelming as you will expect a bigger space to place those chairs, but in fact it is probably just the size of your kitchen. But nonetheless, the bright contrast of the colours – red and baby blue – along with the symmetry of the arrangement, the installation is still quite impressive. If you are trying to recreate the sample image from the guidebook, don’t bother because there is not high ground for you to take a top down shot. Just enjoy the diagonal symmetries of the stool chairs.
OTHER NOTABLE HIGHLIGHTS
- Growing – Hemali Bhuta (SAM)
A striking incense smell invigorates you upon entering the room and you wonder what could have caused that. Turns out, this installation is indeed made from incense sticks suspended from above and it is pretty creepy, but in an impressive way.
- Sugoroku – Anxiety of Falling from History – Nobuaki Takekawa (8Q)
Prepare to challenge your intelligence or so we say mindf*** from the various paintings reflecting the World War II period. Honestly till now, I’m still thinking about the meaning behind those artworks.
- Video showing of the Chinese Contemporary Art (8Q)
Viewer Discretion is advised seriously, and thankfully this is rated 21. Be disturbed by what the artists deem as contemporary art and the lengths they go to achieve what they want to portray. Sounds kind of like a cult, but who is to judge right? You have to see to know what I mean.