The Singapore Biennale 2011 – Hotel Merlion

The Singapore Biennale 2011 featuring Tatzu Nishi’s Hotel Merlion

Attracting over 63 top-flight global artists from 30 countries, the third edition of the Singapore Biennale ( looks to be the best yet and may well live up to their self-proclaimed title as “the leading Biennale in Southeast Asia.”

Open to the public from March 13 until May 15, 2011, this edition is led by Artistic Director Matthew Ngui and curators Russell Storer and Trevor Smith.

With the theme “Open House,” the SB2011 will strive to focus “on the journey of making art, rather than defining its final destination.”

The Indonesian representative is the edgy art collective Ruangrupa ( One of the highlights will surely be the work by Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi, which was already creating a buzz months ago when his plans were leaked to the press. He was commissioned by the Merlion Hotel in Marina Bay to create a temporary one-room suite on and around the famous Merlion statue that people will be able to actually stay in at overnight.

Daytime hours are reserved for visitors to the Biennale to browse inside. It will presumably be taken down after the Biennale is done in May.

The exhibition venues are the Singapore Art Museum (71 Bras Basah Rd.;, the National Museum of Singapore (93 Stamford Rd.;, the Old Kallang Airport (9 Stadium Link) and on the fringes of Marina Bay (Near Central Area in the southern part of Singapore).

About Tatzu Nishi

He was born in 1960 and hails from Nagoya, Japan, but now lives and works in Berlin and Tokyo. He uses scale and distance in his installations to propose fresh perspectives on what might be taken for granted or otherwise seem ordinary. His best-known projects have involved the building of rooms around public monuments or architectural elements.

The result is two-fold: on one hand, an ‘instant sculpture’ appears in a private space, and on the other, that same piece disappears from the public sphere. Within the room, this dramatic shift from public to private creates an encounter with the sculpture that is both fascinating and uncanny; there is egalitarianism in Nishi’s desire to expose art to all. Tatzu Nishi works under a variety of names as part of each project, including tatsuro nishino, tatzu oozu and tatsurou bashi.

This article appears in DA MAN’s February/March edition, to subscribe click here.