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Seeing Forest , Singapore Pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition
Solo Exhibition Arsenale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
Date: 04.20, 2024 - 11.24, 2024

Artists: Robert ZHAO Renhui 赵仁辉

The observation of the ultimately unknowable in the natural world is a hallmark of artist Robert Zhao Renhui’s praxis. Since 1998, under the auspices of his own semi-fictional Institute of Critical Zoologists, Zhao’s many and varied projects have served as lenses that highlight the resilience of nature and the various interactions that occur when such resilience overlaps with human life and society.

Notably, over the last seven years, he has been focusing on secondary forests in Singapore — forests regrown from deforested land due to human intervention such as development and plantation — and the new ecosystems that have developed within it. For the Singapore Pavilion, decades of Zhao’s accumulated observations are condensed and organised into an intensive installation that complements the scale and condition of the Singapore Pavilion in Arsenale.

Through this exhibition, we see how the island of Singapore has evolved to arrive at the present day, revealing some of the ways in which human urban design can shape the natural world itself, resulting in an ecosystem of migrant species that echoes the trajectories and makeup of the city’s human population. At the same time, Seeing Forest also highlights phenomena that are universally relatable to those living in any urban environment.

The pavilion is curated by Haeju Kim, Senior Curator at Singapore Art Museum and previously Artistic Director of Busan Biennale 2022.

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