Singapore secures 20-year lease at Venice Biennale

Singapore secures 20-year lease at Venice Biennale

Singapore has for the first time secured a long-term lease of a space within the historic Arsenale, one of the two main sites of the Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition.

Sam Tan at Singapore Pavilion 1

VENICE: The Singapore Pavilion at the the 56th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition was officially opened on Wednesday (May 6) by Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Sam Tan.

The inauguration marks the first time Singapore's national pavilion is housed within the historic Arsenale on a 20-year lease. The Arsenale - a former military complex and shipyard - is one of two main sites for the exhibition.

Inside Arsenale

"Singapore has a rich pool of artistic talent and we want to be able to always identify and create opportunities for them to showcase their works," said Mr Tan.

"The long-term lease of the Singapore Pavilion at the Biennale further underscores our commitment to our artists, who will fly the Singapore flag on the global stage."

Representing Singapore this year is artist and former Olympic sailor Charles Lim, who unveiled his installation SEA STATE in a 250-square-metre space inside the Sale d'Armi building, set against a stunning view of the Venetian Lagoon.

"It's an excellent opportunity for our artists to think about this space that they can play with and then be plugged into the exciting world of the Venice Biennale," said Mr Paul Tan, Deputy Chief Executive of Singapore's National Arts Council.

Wednesday will also see several other countries from the Asia-Pacific region raise the curtain on their pavilions, including Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

On Saturday, the installations will be open to the public and visitors can take part in a discussion titled The Geopolitical and the Biophysical: A Structured Conversation on Art and Southeast Asia. Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, India and Pakistan will be in the spotlight.

Venice Biennale

Twelve speakers - including Guggenheim Museum curator Thomas J Berghuis, Indonesian artist Heri Dono, and Director of National Gallery Singapore Dr Eugene Tan - will discuss the possibilities as well as uncertainties faced by societies in Southeast Asia and beyond.

After the Biennale's conclusion on Nov 22, Mr Lim's installation will be shipped back home for display at the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore next year, giving Singaporeans a chance to savour the SEA STATE, making waves abroad.

Source: CNA/hs