Patrick D. Flores Appointed Artistic Director of 2019 Singapore Biennale
By Kayo Chang Black
*Last updated December 14, 2018.
On April 30, Singapore’s National Arts Council (NAC) announced the renewed appointment of Singapore Art Museum (SAM) as the organizer of the next two editions of the Singapore Biennale. Since the inaugural exhibition in 2006, SAM, the country’s contemporary art museum, has organized three iterations of the event, in 2011, 2013 and 2016. For the first two biennials, the NAC had directly undertaken the role of organizers. With the appointment for 2019 and 2022, SAM aims to make a more significant impact on the local and regional arts community, providing a platform for long-term collaborations with artists and curators.
The Singapore Biennale 2019 Steering Committee, comprising local arts practitioners led by Rosa Daniel, the NAC’s chief executive officer and Jane Ittogi, former chair of SAM, concurrently revealed the appointment of Patrick D. Flores as the artistic director for the 2019 biennial.
Regarding his vision for the event, Flores had said that he looks forward to making the biennial platform more open to engaged forms of interaction with audiences. In an email to ArtAsiaPacific, he explained: “I imagine the Biennale to foster a level of intimacy with a wider public sphere. At the same time, I imagine that public to also ask questions about its engagement with the platform. This is why I propose an intersection between a festival and a seminar, a common ground in which contemporary art can belong to a more open, sensible life, on the one hand, and to a moment of a more critical appreciation of art, on the other. I think it is a good time to do this in Singapore because the art world and the social environment are dynamic. It is an urgent moment to transform this energy into a spirited conversation with various worlds passing through, forming from, and dwelling in Southeast Asia and its vicinities. These worlds play out within ever-present cosmologies and across very basic lives.”
An established curator, art historian and educator, Flores is currently a professor in the Department of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines, and curator at the Vargas Museum in Manila. Among his many accomplishments, he curated the Philippine Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015, and was one of the curators of “Under Construction: New Dimensions in Asian Art,” presented by the Japan Foundation in 2000, as well as the Gwangju Biennale, under the “Position Papers” component in 2008. He also co-curated “South by Southeast,” an exhibition of contemporary art from Southeast Asia and Southeast Europe, organized by Osage Art Foundation in 2015. A respected art historian, Flores was a guest scholar of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles in 2014. Some of his publications include Past Peripheral: Curation in Southeast Asia (2008).
Singapore Biennale 2019 will take place from November 22 to March 22, 2020. Among the participating artists are Arnont Nongyao, Rattana Vandy, Dennis Tan and Zai Tang.
Kayo Chang Black is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.
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