Culture

STPI Presents 'Soo Pieng: Master of Composition'

Insightful and original, the exhibition invites visitors to rediscover the surprising versatility of one of Southeast Asia's most important artists.
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Blue Atmosphere. 1966. Oil on canvas. 70 x 105.5 x 3 cm

Kicking off Singapore Art Week 2019 is a new exhibition at STPI dedicated to the late Singaporean artist, Cheong Soo Pieng. For the very first time, the artist’s ingenious approach to composition and materiality will be examined in the exhibition, "Soo Pieng: Master of Composition". 

The exhibition will highlight Cheong's artistic breadth and depth through 52 exemplary paintings, sculptures and works on paper which feature Chinese ink oil, and metal, amongst other materials.

Born in 1917 in Xiamen, China, Cheong Soo Pieng has been lauded as one of Southeast Asia’s most important artists emerging from the post-war Chinese diaspora. He is often credited as a pioneer of the ‘Nanyang Style', an Asian art movement that emerged in the 1950s.

He was also a considered a father of East-West modernism in Singapore. Influenced by his frequent travels around Southeast Asia, Cheong eventually refined his distinctive depiction of the female figure. He was also exposed to modernist abstraction in Europe, which later led to his sculptural explorations. 

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Untitled. 1967. Mixed media and metal relief on wood. 76.2 x 101.6 x 8.9 cm

Over the course of his career, Cheong's paintings and artworks were shown extensively across Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, London, Berlin, Hamburg, Glasgow and Dublin. His exceptional contribution to the local arts and cultural scene earned him the Meritorious Service Medal in 1962. 

After Cheong's passing in 1983, his work continues to be studied, exhibited and widely collected today. It is also included in public collections for the National Heritage Board and the National University of Singapore. 

"Soo Pieng: Master of Composition" showcases works gleaned from important private collections, providing a definitive selection of some of Cheong's most seminal creations. Both popular artworks and newly-revealed masterpieces will be on display, allowing for a fresh perspective of the painter's most important achievements.

The exhibition will run from 19 January to 9 March, 2019, at the STPI Creative Workshop & Gallery in Robertson Quay. Head to the gallery's website to find out more, or get a glimpse of Cheong's art works below:

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