News & events > No Singapore pavilion for 2013 Venice Biennale
28 Sep 2012

No Singapore pavilion for 2013 Venice Biennale


The Singapore National Arts Council has announced that the nation will not have a pavilion in the 2013 Venice Biennale. Art Radar Asia reports on reactions from the arts community in Singapore to the decision.

The decision indicates a shift in Singapore’s public art investment priorities and has raised the ire of many local artists and art professionals, including Ho Tzu Nyen, Singapore’s representative to the Biennale in 2011.

In addition to cancelling the Singapore Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale, the National Arts Council (NAC) will also reassess its participation in future biennales in accordance with a long-term cultural promotion strategy. As noted in a statement released by the NAC,
Says Mr Khor Kok Wah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, NAC, ‘NAC will review our Venice participation and consult our visual arts advisors and members of the arts community.  We will re-examine the relevance of participating in future Venice Biennales, before deciding if we should continue our participation in 2015. If so, our aim will be to ensure that our future presentations will contribute more systematically and effectively towards visual arts development in Singapore.

In re-examining out future participation in the Venice Biennale, NAC aims to provide more commissioning and internationalisation opportunities to our artists. In addition, NAC also hopes to involve non-public sector arts organisations to become active stakeholders and partners for Singapore’s participation at international platforms. This will help build a pool of artistic talent, curatorial capabilities and related skills for artists and these supporting organisations.’

NAC officials have also noted the high cost of renting and operating a space at the Venice Biennale, where the competition for visibility limits the potential for Singapore’s artists to gain exposure in the international art world. In 2011, the NAC spent SGD850,000 (USD680,000) on the Singapore Pavilion.

Read more - full article on Art Radar

Image: Ho Tzu Nyen's video installation 'The Cloud of Unknowing' in the Singapore Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale