On Monday 27th January, the Art IGSCE classes from Remove and Hundred were lucky enough to visit the Singapore 2013 Biennale. The Biennale uniquely focuses on South East Asia, historically the hub of civilization and the pioneers of change. A wide range of artists from amazingly diverse cultures, perspectives and histories were given the same statement – ‘If the World Changed’ – and invited to create their own artistic interpretation of our world, the world they want, and the world awaiting us in the future across a massive variety of media. Visiting the Biennale had been in the pipeline for months so when it became a reality, we were more than ready for it.
After the crossing to Singapore, MCM pupils were filling the lobby of Singapore Art Museum, perched on interactive art and listening attentively to the guides. We were shown through an incredible series of galleries, marvelling at each and every creation. Some of the displays erred a little to the dark side, such a Payatas by Oscar Villamiel, an installation consisting of hundreds of doll heads mounted on bamboo sticks. These were all scavenged from the Manila landfill of the same name by the children living there, a huge fraction of the 200, 000 people who make the dump their home. Needless to say, these numerous and varied pieces of issue art left all of us reeling, in deep thought and in massive awe.
The Biennale was scattered across the whole island, in and around 10 separate locations so (unfortunately) checking them all out was impossible. However, after the tours were finished at SAM, we crossed the road to the National Museum of Singapore which housed more of the artworks, and were given ample free time for lunch. Hunger sated, we trooped into the building and immediately we were confronted by a large wall of water, cascading from specially placed pipes. Soon after, we learnt that the giant mirror outside was angled to shine sunlight onto the ‘rain’, creating a rainbow of sorts. Typical of Singapore, the weather offered no sunlight and we had to move on. The installations at NMS were also food for thought, with the main attraction for most of us being Crystal Palace, by Ken and Julia Yonetani, consisting of 31 chandeliers suspended from the ceiling. These chandeliers, however, were definitely not what you would expect to find in your average house. The ceiling in question was one in a pitch-black room, and each chandelier had been fitted with UV lights, and each glass bead was replaced with uranium glass; under the UV rays, the glass shone a haunting green. The number 31 represented the number of nuclear nations in the world, and their size proportionate to the number of operating plants in that particular country. We were guided through the rest of the artwork, some of which consisted of massive structures we could walk through, others being vehicles we could sit in. After a long yet enjoyable day, with legs aching and minds spinning we thanked the guides and hopped back on the bus, bound for school.
We would like to thank Mrs Prime for organizing this amazing day, and Mr Prime and Ms Davies-Evit for helping manage us, as well as the guides for bringing life to every piece we saw. It was an incredible trip filled with ideas, notions and concepts none of us will forget soon.
Kenzie Lynas, Remove