Suzann Victor

b. 1959, Singapore
Lives and works in Sydney, Australia

Shown widely on the international circuit, Suzann Victor’s artworks have attracted critical attention including at the 6th Havana Biennale; 2nd Asia-Pacific Triennial (Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane); 49th Venice Biennale; 6th Gwangju Biennale; 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale; 6th Adelaide Biennale, Thermocline of Art – New Asian Waves (2007) at ZKM Centre for Art & Media, Karlsruhe, Germany), Australian! (2008) at Casula Powerhouse, Sydney and an extended exhibition for Höhenraucsch (2014) at OÖ Kulturquartier (O.K. Center for Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria).

The Singapore Biennale 2013 presented Suzann’s climate change awareness-raising feat in which she induced natural double rainbow arcs to appear inside the National Museum’s colonial architecture using only sunlight, water and an adapted heliostat – a profound meteorological experience that was met with incredulity by audiences. The work’s harvested solar energy was also diverted into the city-centre’s very first pair of Pop-Up Solar Charging Stations that she installed for the public to top up their smart devices along Stamford Road. This artistic investment in science, physics and the environment is also evident in the custom-engineered power-saving magnetic coils (first used in Contours 2005) that drive the frictionless movement of Suzann’s signature kinetic series Wings of a Rich Manoeuvre (2016). Commissioned by the National Museum of Singapore with the support of global brand Swarovski, the eight bespoke chandelier-pendulums suspended over the institution’s link bridge perform a dramatic aerial calligraphy of twelve “ drawings ” rendered in light, the settings of which audiences can permutate at a public-interactivity kiosk in the evenings.

In 2017, Suzann was the sole artist selected by the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum from the important regional Sunshower Exhibition to be honoured with a unique residency for creating a Southeast Asian artist’s cultural response to the city, a project that saw the historic grounds of the 1,200 year-old Jotenji Temple hosting its very first site-specific outdoor soft-architecture-installation, A Thousand Skies, comprised entirely of Fresnel lenses. More recently, her iconic performance “Still Waters 1998” in the second-floor drain of the Singapore Art Museum was honoured as the inspiration and theme of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2019, a curation of presentations by esteemed local and international theatre practitioners. Singapore’s premier printmaking workshop, STPI, proudly presented the artist’s paper-based works in her groundbreaking solo show, Imprint: New Works by Suzann Victor (2015), the Triennale of Contemporary Prints, La Locle, Switzerland (2018) and at prestigious fairs including Art Basel, the Armory Show and FIAC 2018 (Foire Internatinale d’art Contemporain, Grand Palais, Paris).

Suzann’s significant contribution to socially conscious, artistic and feminist discourses began as far back as the early 90’s when in an unprecedented move, she conceived and negotiated the nation’s first corporate-sponsored artist-run space, 5th Passage, to re-contextualise art from the confines of institutions into what she describes as Singapore’s “de facto community centre” – the spectacle of the shopping centre – where, as artistic director, she engendered an as yet new art public by tapping into “a readymade audience within a readymade public space.” This drive to engage new stakeholders with then unparalleled strategies also saw her curation of Singapore’s first site-specific women’s exhibition within the interstitial spaces of the historic Kandang Kerbau Hospital at the cusp of its operarional transition in 1996, following the media persecution of 5th Passage in 1994 for co-organising and hosting the AGA, an event that triggered Singapore’s most revealing art-historical rupture that led to the decade-long de facto ban on performance art. Suzann’s practice of decolonisation exposes, highlights and questions contemporary issues from disembodiment, climate change to feminism/s specific to this region, and was the first (and to date only) female artist in the Singapore curation for the 49th Venice Biennale.

Her public artworks can be found at high-profile locations such as World Square, Sydney CBD (commissioned by Multiplex Constructions), Meritus Mandarin Hotel and the National Museum of Singapore. Suzann was nominated for the prestigious New York-based Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship (2009) and the coveted artist residency at STPI (2014 & 2017). Her signature series Contours of a Rich Manoeuvre was featured as the key artwork for Art Stage Singapore 2015 and voted its No.1 in Forbes 2015 list of Top Ten Must-See Artworks. She completed her doctoral research in 2008 supported by the Australian Postgraduate Award as well as the UWS Top Up Award.

Country: Singapore