Chua Ek Kay (Singaporean, 1947-2008) Old Street Scene, 1989

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Lot 20
Chua Ek Kay
(Singaporean, 1947-2008)
Old Street Scene, 1989

Sold for HK$ 213,125 (US$ 27,499) inc. premium
Chua Ek Kay (Singaporean, 1947-2008)
Old Street Scene, 1989
signed, dated and stamped with a seal of the artist, lower left.
ink and colour on paper
82 x 68 cm. (32 1/4 x 26 3/4 in.)

Footnotes

  • 蔡逸溪 老街景 彩墨紙本 一九八九年作

    Provenance:
    Acquired directly from the artist in 1990


    Art in Post-War Singapore: A Dialogue with History and the Present

    The second generation of Singapore artists have distinguished themselves from their predecessors by pushing the creative boundaries of the established Nanyang style while retaining its essence through the employment of non-conventional materials and mediums in their works. Born in the 1930s and 40s, these artists came into their prime in the 1960s and 70s, working against a backdrop of turbulent times of political and social changes. The zeitgeist of the post-war era challenged these artists to break away from the conventional to find new ways in representing Nanyang style, and to forge new aesthetics that represent the country's social and cultural identity. These artists' resilience and zeal propelled them to venture into lesser used mediums such as batik, aluminium and woodcuts, to capture and express the conditions of their time.

    Multiple lots by some of the most well-established second-generation artists are presented at Bonhams this season to represent the diversity of artistic practices that were present in Singapore in the post-war era. Batik and woodcut were used as a new field of art to figuratively portray romantic scenes and colours of the Nanyang landscape and way of life by See Cheen Tee (1928-1996), Chieu Shuey Fook (b. 1934), Seah Kim Joo (b. 1939), and Tay Chee Toh (b. 1941). Aluminium, on the other hand, was employed by Vincent Hoisington in his metal relief work, to mould a new visual language to echo the nation's industrialisation and urban development. Abstraction as a visual style was adopted by Vincent Hoisington (1924-1972), Tay Bak Koi (b. 1939) and Thomas Yeo (b. 1936), as these artists departed from the figurative narrative to convey the mood and atmosphere of the time.

    The Nanyang Style cultivated by the first-generation artists was both encompassed and resisted by these second-generation artists. The collective efforts of these artists to explore and innovate in the post-war era hence further the historical dialogue of the Singaporean artistic identity that they were grappling with.

    Chua Ek Kay's Old Street Scene is one of the earliest and most iconic of the artist's 'old street scene' series of works, deploying a singularly identifiable expressionistic tendency to depict the essence of Singapore in the by-gone years. In painting, the artist seemingly recasts himself in his earlier days, standing in front of old shophouses: the intricate atmosphere of a bustling street scene; the convivial flow of pedestrians; the parked cars and the unmistakable blue painted windows and door of typical old shophouses. Through Chua Ek Kay's unique artistic vocabulary, the artist stakes a place of importance for built heritage in our cultural lives.

    作於1989年的「舊街景」,屬蔡逸溪創作中經典的街景系列,以寫意的水墨技法結合獨創的視覺空間描繪出新加坡昔日街道之美。藝術家以獨特的視角勾勒出店屋的一隅,彷彿孩童時的他站在建築物前,眼神聚焦在畫面的一個部分,街道上人群零星,單車靜謐地停靠在門口,水藍色的彩墨暈染在店屋的窗和門上,逸溪以獨特藝術語彙替新加坡文化遺產打造新空間概念及高度。
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