4th September – 12th November 2006
Vernissage: 1st – 3rd September 2006

Organised by the National Arts Council and National Heritage Board of Singapore, Singapore’s first visual arts biennale, Singapore Biennale 2006 (SB2006), will be opened to the public from 4th September to 12th November 2006. The inaugural event will be curated by Fumio Nanjo, who is internationally reputed for having headed the programming and adjudication of major art events throughout the world. Commissioner for the Taipei Biennale in 1998 and Japan Pavilion at the 1997 Venice Biennale, he co-founded the Yokohama Triennale in 2001. Nanjo was also a jury member for the Turner Prize by Tate Gallery in 1998, and the prestigious Leon d’Or Prize at the Venice Biennale this year. Nanjo is currently the Deputy Director of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum and lectures at the Keio University in Japan.

"The Singapore Biennale marks another milestone in the rich history of Singapore’s visual arts development. Since the era of our pioneering artists, our artists have captured the imagination of the international arts community, receiving invitations to participate in prestigious visual art biennales and events. Today, over 500 exhibitions are held in Singapore every year. Visuals arts activity and appreciation here have reached a level of sophistication that will be further enhanced with the Biennale," says Lee Suan Hiang, Chairman of the Singapore Biennale 2006 Steering Committee, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the National Arts Council. He adds, "Fumio-san has extensive experience in curating, commissioning, as well as critiquing several key arts projects in Asia and other parts of the world. He also has excellent understanding and knowledge of Southeast Asian culture and will be able to relate the role and importance of contemporary art practices in the region to the global world, thus creating an impactful and unique Biennale."

As part of the anchor cultural event for Singapore 2006: Global City. World of Opportunities (S2006), SB2006 provides the platform for the presentation of international art in dialogue with Singapore and Asia. It promises to be a unique and exciting experience to the international audience through interfaces and encounters between city life and art that will inspire dialogue among citizens and visitors within the multicultural state of Singapore. S2006 is the umbrella event where Singapore will play host to the Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group.

The biennale as a palimpsest of cultures is one of the key strands to its conceptualisation. A palimpsest is a manuscript on which an earlier text has been effaced and the vellum or parchment reused for new texts. The palimpsest of cultures thus implies many stories and many voices within any given situation, and alludes to the multi-layering and complexity of culture in Singapore, and in relation to the Southeast Asia region.

The biennale will show art and artists representing different cultures and identities, creating dialogues and telling stories with diverse expressions. It will focus on a multitude of related issues such as: relationships between the local and the global; the North and South as demarcated by the tropical belt; and, technologies vis-à-vis human endeavours. About half of the artists represented in the Singapore Biennale will be from Asia. There will also be a focus on artists from other geographical regions including Latin America and Africa, besides Europe and North America.

Visitors to SB2006 are invited to actively engage and re-read the city; as re-presented through artistic intervention in the city fabric, histories and everyday life of Singapore. A conglomeration of multi-venue visual arts exhibitions, performances, symposia, lectures and workshops are programmed such that the event will be accessible to multiple levels of audience. This encompasses overlapping and layered exhibition sites, and programmes where artists work within communities for extended periods of time.

As part of the Biennale programming, the curatorial team has planned a series of dialogue sessions with the local arts community, from July 2005 leading up to the inception of the Biennale. These regular dialogue sessions, Encounters, provides a discursive platform for Singaporeans to voice issues and concerns pertinent to SB2006. The first session, Encounters 01, was held successfully on 15 July 2005 at The Substation, Singapore.

Drawing interest from top local, regional and international artists, art historians, critics, practitioners, arts and cultural organisations, museums, corporations and governments; SB2006 strives to build new audiences and participation across ages and demographics. It will be spread throughout Singapore city at various sites including several museums; galleries; old buildings; temples; and even walkways; shopping centres along Orchard Road; the Botanic Gardens; and modes of transportation such as planes, buses, taxis and boats.

SB2006 will stimulate broader demand for visual arts in Singaporeans, further cultivating and elevating their appreciation for contemporary art and enhancing Singapore’s cultural image as a progressive and attractive cosmopolitan city to live, work and play in. It will be an impactful and unique Biennale, for Singaporeans and the international audience.

The SB2006 inauguration ceremony will be held on the morning of 2nd September 2006, followed by an opening party launch in the evening.

KEY EVENTS

Singapore Biennale Club Night: 24th June 2006
Media Preview: 1st to 3rd September 2006
Inauguration Ceremony: 2nd September 2006, Morning
Opening Party: 2nd September 2006, Evening
Exhibition Period: 4th September to 12th November 2006
Closing Event: 11th November 2006

RELATED EVENTS

Opening of exhibition site, VivoCity: 13th to 15th October 2006
Deepavali Weekend Event: 20th to 22nd October 2006