Media release: Envisioning a better future with Singapore Biennale 2019 exhibitions at LASALLE College of the Arts

22 November 2019
Media Release

Thirteen international artists and collectives will showcase new and existing works at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) Singapore, LASALLE College of the Arts, as part of the Singapore Biennale 2019 (SB2019). 

Themed Every Step in the Right Direction, SB2019 employs the medium of art to examine how change can be made for a more humane world. The four-month long event will be held at 11 venues, including LASALLE’s ICA Singapore from 22 November 2019 to 22 March 2020.

Selected by SB2019 artistic director Patrick Flores and his curatorial team, the 13 exhibiting artists at the ICA Singapore extend their research into subjects such as nationhood, racial politics, identity, the environment and indigenous communities. From videos, sound, installations, data visualisations and speculative fiction, these ‘activated’ works provide varied, reflective narratives and lenses on the world.

“We are proud to partner with the Singapore Biennale for the third time. With the Biennale at our iconic city campus, not only will our students have the invaluable learning opportunity to witness contemporary art in action, it also contextualises the significance of the arts and this year’s theme Every Step in the Right Direction through questions we ask every day here at LASALLE. What can artists do to shape the future? How do we constantly think about a range of issues in our work? This is so important to our ethos as an arts college and I look forward to the vibrant conversations and exchange of ideas that will no doubt arise from this remarkable exhibition.” said Professor Steve Dixon, President of LASALLE.

Debuting at LASALLE’s ICA Singapore are several exciting commissions – Arnont Nongyao investigates the act of listening in social situations through audio recordings of Thailand’s vibrant marketplaces; Gary-Ross Pastrana explores the nature of objects to take on different meanings in a performance against a theatre set; The Centro Audiovisual Max Stahl Timor-Leste (CAMSTL) offers insight into the fraught history of the young nation-state through archive footage. A re-visit of Soyung Lee’s and Miljohn Ruperto’s work also opens up timely questions about human’s relationship with nature.

SB2019’s Artistic Director Patrick Flores says,” We are delighted to collaborate with LASALLE and the works sited in the College’s galleries speak to the interest of the context in constant learning and engaged investigation. This interest links up well with the desire of the Biennale to generate a festival-seminar atmosphere, and the spaces allow the Biennale to activate the woks and release them from their supposedly final form or appearance. This curiosity and this sense of inquiry lie at the heart of LASALLE's principles as a contemporary space and an institution of creative and critical agents.”

Several LASALLE fine arts alumni are also exhibiting at other locations for SB2019. Cultural Medallion recipient Amanda Heng invites members of the public to take a stroll with her. This new iteration of her renowned Let’s Walk series aims to spark reflection on our relationship to the outside world. Another alumnus Dennis Tan employs a traditional Southeast Asian sport, kolek racing, to discuss the importance of oral history. Such accessible, entry points enable individuals to deepen their relationship with art and society, and is one of the goals of the biennale.

Joining Amanda and Dennis are other LASALLE alumni, including Young Artist Award recipient Kray Chen, who welcomes visitors to rehearse for a wedding by going through traditional rituals, Khairullah Rahim, who blurs private and public spaces with four installations, and the late Juliana Yasin, who shares the joy of collaboration through two music albums.

In conjunction with SB2019, Baby Tropical Lab (BTL) – jointly organised by LASALLE College of the Arts, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with Singapore Art Museum – will open at Gillman Barracks on 22 November 2019. The exhibition showcases artworks that are the culmination of what students learned from BTL, which consisted of a series of talks and workshops by Singapore Biennale artists and curators as well as in-situ art-making facilitated by LASALLE Senior Fellow Milenko Prvacki.

Event information

Title: Singapore Biennale 2019 – Every Step in the Right Direction
Exhibition period: Fri, 22 Nov – Sun, 22 Mar 2020
Opening hours: Mon – Sun, 10:00am – 7:00pm, including Public Holidays
(Closed from Tue 24 Dec 2019 – Wed 1 Jan 2020 for College-wide maintenance)
Location: Gallery 1 and Earl Lu Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE College of the Arts, 1 McNally Street, Singapore 187940

Download the media release

Cover image: CAMSTL, Birth (of a Nation) (video stills); images courtesy of the Artist.