Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Twenty-sixth month, culture club

Marina Bay Sands - view from the launch of the Singapore Biennale

This month, we have mostly been enjoying the Singapore Biennale...

Although the last show was in 2008, the Singapore Biennale took place this year in 2011. Having heard good reports from the previous shows, we were expecting to see some eye-catching and inspiring installations. The opening kicked off with Tatzu Nishi's enthralling pop-up hotel. Some said that encasing the Merlion's head in a box adorned on the inside with dark gold wallpaper and a blood red carpet was lacking in imagination but then again, offering people the chance to wake up under a giant mouth that would usually be spouting a ton of water was rather playful. It made me smile.

Despite having to use Google Maps to direct turn by turn our taxi driver Uncle to Old Kallang Airport, we were pleased to arrive and be dropped right at the door as it started to spit with rain. Whilst there were far too many video art exhibitions which could not tempt us to linger given the suffocating heat, here are a selection of favourites:

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Mexico - 'Frequency and Volume'

Michael Lee, Singapore - 'Office Orchitect'

Fumio Nanjo, Director of Tokyo's Mori Art Museum was previously Artistic Director of the Singapore Biennale. This time, Matthew Ngui (who was previously a curator) was named as the front man. Sadly, I can't say I was particularly bowled over by the show. With the 'catch all' title, 'Open House', it lacked cohesion, featured too much video art and was missing 'wow' factor. If I was to mark it like a school report, I would say, 'Could do better'.

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