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The Singapore Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale


The Singapore Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale

SEA STATE by Charles Lim Yi Yong

Singapore presents, Sea State, by artist and former Olympic sailor Charles Lim Yi Yong. He is interested in how globalisation impacts the seascape with global warming and land reclamation. He was inspired by the small island off Singapore called Pulau Sajahat, which disappeared from maritime maps in 2002. He sailed out to find that the island had been almost absorbed by the mainland using sand reclaimed from surrounding Southeast Asian countries to bridge the gap. While Venice sinks due to global warming, Singapore’s small landmass has increased 25 per cent in the last decade. Lim’s pavilion presented visually and conceptually striking videos of cargo ships cruising up and down Singapore’s shoreline filmed horizontally, but running vertically, as if sailing up and down the pavilion’s walls. In a nod to Singapore’s participation in the 2005 Venice Biennale when the artist, Lim Tzay-Chuen attempted to bring over Singapore’s national monument, the Merlion, Lim brings a 20-foot-tall buoy from the Singapore sea encrusted in barnacles and mussels. With windows overlooking the canal, this newly leased pavilion, bought the Singapore seascape to Europe. All that was missing was the scent of seaweed. 



All images courtesy of the National Arts Council, Singapore

Any views or opinions in the interview are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

Update: Read our latest coverage of the 2019 Venice Biennale and the Asian Pavilions at the big event.

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