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In June 2009, the National Arts Council of Singapore announced the appointment of the internationally recognised visual artist Matthew Ngui as the Artistic Director of the 3rd Singapore Biennale. He is the first Singaporean directing the country's premier international contemporary art event.
Matthew Ngui has a vast experience in the field of visual arts Biennales as a participating artist and more recently as a curator. He was part of the curatorial team for SB2008, and had exhibited at the São Paulo, Venice and Gwangju Biennales in 1996, 2001 and 2002 respectively. Ngui is one of four artists who represented Singapore at its first participation at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001, and he is also the first Singaporean artist to exhibit at Documenta in Kassel in 1997. Trained in sculpture, Ngui’s focus is now in the realms of installation, video, performance, site-specific works and public art.
In relation the the Biennale's next edition, Matthew Ngui expressed: "I would like for the focus of the Biennale to be on Singapore and other countries as sites, homes and nations, where the role of art is to engage and re-present realities through its unique creative processes that often give new and fresh insights into the spaces we inhabit. Hence on site in Singapore, we hope to engage artists with the public as participating and active audiences starting from the very process of art making in both private and public spaces."
For the 3rd Singapore Biennale, Ngui has chosen to work with two established curators: Russell Storer, presently curator for Asian Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, Australia, and the Canadian Trevor Smith, curator of Contemporary Art at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, USA.