Oct 20 2014

Singaporean Curator Khairuddin Hori joins Palais de Tokyo in Paris

by Joo Han

Singaporean curator Khairuddin Hori, who will join Palais de Tokyo, Paris, in November. Courtesy Khairuddin Hori.

On October 13, it was announced that Singaporean curator Khairuddin Hori will be joining Palais de Tokyo, Paris—one of Europe’s foremost centers of contemporary art—as its deputy programming director. Hori, who is currently serving as senior curator of the National Heritage Board’s curatorial development department in Singapore, will assume his new position next month.

A graduate of Singapore’s Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, 40-year-old Hori is best known for his multidisciplinary and unconventional approach to curating, supported by his experience in theatre and as an artist. In 1997 he took on the position of associate director at Teater Ekamatra, a Malay-language theatre company, for which he led large-scale outdoor performances in Singapore. He was also an active participant of Thailand’s Asiatopia International Performance Art Festival from 2005–08. 

Hori was formerly a senior curator at the Singapore Art Museum, a post he held for three years, during which he specialized in contemporary Southeast Asian art, with a particular focus on Thailand and Indonesia. Notably, in 2012, he curated Singaporean multidisciplinary artist Lee Wen’s retrospective “Lucid Dreams in the Reverie of the Real” at the museum. 

Last year, Hori caught the attention of the French contemporary art world with the collaborative curatorial project “File Not Found” (2013), displayed as part of the Nouvelles Vagues art festival hosted by Palais de Tokyo. The project, which was organized by 21 international curators from 13 countries, demonstrated Hori’s wide-ranging curatorship, featuring an architectural installation and live performance, as well as texts and sculptures.

It was in April, while preparing for the Singapore Festival in France (slated to open March 2015), that Hori was offered the position at Palais de Tokyo by the center’s president Jean de Loisy. What convinced him to accept the position, Hori shared with The Straits Times, was the belief that he could play a more significant role as deputy director: “If they had invited me there as a curator, I would not [have done] it, because I think I can do more in Singapore, I can make more of an impact here and in Southeast Asia. But when they told me they wanted me as a deputy director, that was something else completely.” Starting from November 2014, Hori will be organizing one exhibition per year, as well as overseeing six curators at Palais de Tokyo.