press release

Featuring over 60 artists from 30 countries, the third Singapore Biennale, titled 'Open House', will be open to the public from 13 March to 15 May 2011. Over half of the participating artists are creating new commissions or premiering new works. 'Open House' is presented across four exhibition venues, each with their own particular character, that draw upon emblematic spaces in Singapore: public housing apartments (Singapore Art Museum and SAM at 8Q), shopping malls and night markets (National Museum of Singapore), and international air and sea ports (Old Kallang Airport). Major works at Marina Bay will amplify individual experience in the city.

In Singapore, at customary festivities such as Hari Raya, Deepavali and Chinese New Year, people open their homes to others, inviting them to visit, eat and talk. This is not only a gesture of hospitality and good will but also an opportunity to reflect, negotiate and exchange. The threshold between the private and the public is made permeable, if only for a moment, relaxing boundaries between individuals and barriers between groups.

Contemporary art often emerges out of a need to communicate across such thresholds of difference that may be experiential, psychological, or grounded in social and political hierarchies. As such, artists' practices are not simply about something in the world, they are real attempts to exchange information, translate experiences and even trade places. Borders may be guarded with force, yet artists find ways to embed themselves within such systems of control, turning unspoken desires toward unexpected ends. Sometimes artists displace or exchange objects, materials and information from one context to another, revealing surprising connections between culturally divergent positions. The labour of constructing or deconstructing common objects and materials highlight the creative potential in seemingly mundane situations, suggesting fresh ways of seeing the world.

'Open House' examines these artistic processes and their links to the daily transactions that take place between people. From trading objects to swapping stories, from sharing food to dressing up, we are constantly making exchanges, as individuals, groups, cities and nations. In the world's busiest port, a multicultural city built on trade, 'Open House' brings together artworks that offer multiple perspectives and myriad creative approaches to questions of how we move across borders, see other points of view, and form connections with others.

About the Singapore Biennale The Singapore Biennale was established in 2006 as the country's pre-eminent platform for international dialogue in contemporary art. It places Singapore's artists within a global context, and fosters productive collaborations with the international arts community. In this way, the Biennale provides new opportunities for local visual artists, arts organisations and businesses, and cultivates deeper public engagement with the arts. It complements achievements in other areas of arts and culture, collectively enhancing Singapore's international profile as a vibrant city in which to live, work and play. Singapore Biennale 2011 is organised by the Singapore Art Museum of the National Heritage Board, and supported by the National Arts Council, which inaugurated the Biennale.

A complete list of artists and programmes will be announced in December 2010.

Singapore Biennale 2011 Open House Artistic Director: Matthew Ngui Curators: Trevor Smith, Russell Storer

Venues Singapore Art Museum (including SAM at 8Q) National Museum of Singapore Old Kallang Airport Marina Bay