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Suzann Victor Biography

Suzann Victor is a Sydney-based Singaporean artist renowned for her thought-provoking performance and installation-based works that investigate the relationships between colonial history, the body, art, and architecture.

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Beginning as an abstract painter in the late 1980s, Suzann Victor shifted towards community-building, performance, and installation art with the establishment of 5th Passage Artists Ltd. Co-founded in 1991 by Victor, Susie Lingham, and Han Ling, the 5th Passage gallery in Parkway Parade was a non-profit exhibition space providing support for emerging artists in Singapore. The initiative dissolved in 1994, however, following the Singaporean government's 10-year de facto ban on performance art—a result of Josef Ng's controversial performance, Brother Cane, at the gallery.

Against this background emerged Still Waters (1998), in which Suzann Victor filled the second-storey drain of the Singapore Art Museum with water and performed a series of movements inside. The drain acted as a liminal space free from state-endorsed rules while belonging to the building that was not, and served as a site for her protest against government censorship of art. In 2019, the annual M1 Singapore Fringe Festival was organised around the theme of 'Still Waters', reflecting the relevance of Victor's work in contemporary Singapore.

In Suzann Victor's exploration of the postcolonial, the chandelier becomes a potent motif as an object with Western origins that has since become desired and ubiquitous in Asia. At the 49th Venice Biennale, where she was the first woman to represent Singapore, Victor presented Dusted by Rich Manoeuvre (2001). The swinging installation consisting of four red chandeliers made from crushed glass-crystalware appeared as if it were about to crash without ever reaching that climax.

In Contours of a Rich Manoeuvre (2006)—another chandelier work—Victor engaged with the embedded history of architecture by placing a row of chandelier-pendulums above a bridge between the 19th-century colonial and modern wings of the National Museum of Singapore. The chandeliers swung over periods of 15 minutes, during which their lights created an ephemeral illustration of a range of figures, including a Chinese red dragon in the air.

The solo exhibition Imprint: New Works by Suzann Victor (2015) at STPI in Singapore continued Victor's examination of postcolonial narratives as well as individual and collective histories in paper-oriented works. In the series 'I was like that myself ... we all held each other's hands' (2015), Victor wove together old photographic images of Singapore and Chinese New Year decorations. Placed inside oval frames, the collages are further obscured and rendered nostalgic by the layer of Fresnel lenses over them.

Suzann Victor holds a PhD in Visual Art from Western Sydney University (2008), where she also received her MA and BA, both with honours. In addition to the Venice Biennale, her work has been included in major international exhibitions including the 4th Singapore Biennale (2013), 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale (2008), 6th Havana Biennial (1997), and the 2nd Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (1996).

Suzann Victor Solo Exhibitions include:

See Like A Heretic: On Vision and Belief, Gajah Gallery, Singapore (2018); Imprint: New Works by Suzann Victor, STPI, Singapore (2015); Lights & Shadows, Adam Art Gallery, Wellington (2002).

Suzann Victor Group Exhibitions include:

GENSET, Gajah Gallery, Singapore (2020); Shaping Geographies: Art, Woman, Southeast Asia, Gajah Gallery, Singapore (2019); Sunshower: Southeast Asian Contemporary Art from 1980's to Now, The National Art Center and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2017); Bantu! Art Summit, Gajah Gallery Yogyakarta (2016); 5 Stars: Art Reflects on Peace, Justice, Equality, Democracy and Progress, Singapore Art Museum (2015).

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2021

Siew Kee-Liong, G.A.T.E. [门], (2021). Photographic Print on Chromaluxe Metal, 116 X 174 cm. Courtesy Gajah Gallery. 

Suzann Victor Featured Artworks

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Untitled by Suzann Victor contemporary artwork sculpture
Suzann VictorUntitled, 2021Aluminium
4.75 x 4.75 x 5.25 cm
Gajah Gallery Contact Gallery
Skywater by Suzann Victor contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Suzann VictorSkywater, 2021Oil on linen
153 x 189 x 4 cm
Gajah Gallery Contact Gallery
Portwine - Romance included by Suzann Victor contemporary artwork painting
Suzann VictorPortwine - Romance included, 2015Spit bite aquatint on Saunders 638gm paper
150 x 150 cm
STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery Contact Gallery
Strike by Suzann Victor contemporary artwork sculpture
Suzann VictorStrike, 2021Water, rain water, glass vessels, strikers, stainless steel wires, dimensions variable.
STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery Contact Gallery
Unequal Innocence by Suzann Victor contemporary artwork painting
Suzann VictorUnequal Innocence, 2020Acrylic on canvas, acrylic strip and lenses
127.5 x 127.5 x 15 cm
Gajah Gallery Contact Gallery
Brain by Suzann Victor contemporary artwork mixed media
Suzann VictorBrain, 2019crushed stained glass
13.5 x 16.5 x 27 cm
Gajah Gallery Contact Gallery
Trails to the Centre of the Edge by Suzann Victor contemporary artwork print
Suzann VictorTrails to the Centre of the Edge, 2017Spit bite aquatint on Saunders Waterford 356gsm paper
30 x 30 cm
STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery Contact Gallery
Cloud Galactic by Suzann Victor contemporary artwork mixed media
Suzann VictorCloud Galactic, 2017Assembled polycarbonate sheets, coloured paper pulp
178 x 158 x 18 cm
STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery Contact Gallery

Suzann Victor Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Suzann Victor Represented By

Gajah Gallery contemporary art gallery in Singapore Gajah Gallery Singapore, Yogyakarta

Suzann Victor In Ocula Magazine

Suzann Victor In Related Press

Elephant in the room: How Singapore’s Gajah Gallery embraced regional art Related Press Elephant in the room: How Singapore’s Gajah Gallery embraced regional art 14 November 2016, Channel NewsAsia

More than two decades ago, art dealer Jasdeep Sandhu went on an extensive trip around Southeast Asia. The 50-year-old Singaporean was about to open a new art gallery and was wondering what to call it. 'I was in Thailand and was about to take the train to Yangon. It was a hot afternoon and I was sweating, and right in front of me was an...

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12 Questions for Suzann Victor Related Press 12 Questions for Suzann Victor 3 February 2015, Blouin ArtInfo

Suzann Victor represented Singapore at the Venice Biennale in 2001 and is better known for her large-scale installations, such as her seminal swinging chandeliers at the National Museum of Singapore, and performance art, but for her most recent show, at STPI now through Feb 21, the Sydney-based Singaporean artist turned to paper and printmaking...

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Suzann Victor Explores New Media for Her Latest Show Related Press Suzann Victor Explores New Media for Her Latest Show 25 January 2015, Today Online

While Art Week features a staggering array of arts events — bolstered, perhaps, by the frenzy of SG50-related reflections and celebrations — you won’t want to miss the Singapore Tyler Print Institute’s (STPI) offering, Imprint: New Works by Suzann Victor. As the title suggests, the exhibition features a bevy of new works by...

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Sneak Peek: Art Stage Singapore 2015 Related Press Sneak Peek: Art Stage Singapore 2015 15 January 2015, Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop for Blouin ArtInfo / 8 January 2015

Gilbert & George’s site-specific work on five walls around the VIP area of the fair promises to be one of the key highlights. Two new curated platforms, one on Russian contemporary video art (which remains little known in region) curated by Olga Sviblova, the founder and director of the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow, who selected works...

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