STPI Gallery kick-starts its 15th year with stellar local and international artists at the 2017 edition of Art Stage Singapore, including Cultural Medallion recipients Han Sai Por, Ong Kim Seng and the late Chua Ek Kay. This diverse presentation encompasses a wide range of materials that challenge established mediums of print and paper. From Do Ho Suh’s seminal thread drawings and ongoing Rubbing/Loving series to Chua Ek Kay's coveted lithographs and paper pulp paintings, these works are a luminous testament to STPI’s relentless pursuit of innovation and artistic breakthroughs.
Concurrently, STPI Gallery is presenting Cultural Medallion recipient Amanda Heng in its creative space, We Are the World - These Are Our Stories, is the first-ever solo gallery exhibition by the performance artist, featuring a never-before-seen work; a definitive milestone in her prolific career which spans over two decades. A collaboration between Heng and STPI, this is the first time that both artist and institution embark on a project that extends beyond the traditional artist residency and the physical institution itself.
A Cultural Medallion recipient, the late Chua Ek Kay (1947-2008) was a prominent figure in progressing Chinese ink practice in Singapore. His life-long environment in the arts included curatorial engagements, lecturing at LASALLE and the Nanyang Technological University. He sat on various committees at the National Arts Council and the Sin Sing Poets’ Society, and was the Vice Chairman of Hwa Hun Art Society in Singapore. Under the tutelage of Chinese literati master painter Fan Chang Tien, Chua developed his own calligraphic style that combined traditional Chinese ink painting based on the principles established by the Shanghai School of Painting and the xieyi with Western contemporary influences.
Han Sai Por is a Cultural Medallion recipient whose accolades include the Grand Prize at the Triennale-India (2015) and the Outstanding Sculpture Award in China (2006). At age seventy-four, she remains one of Singapore’s most pivotal modern art sculptors, receiving critical attention for the rigour of her practice, art-making processes and methods of fabrication. Addressing environmental issues and the rapidly changing landscape, Han draws from nature in her works at STPI and features motifs and metaphors of forests, plants, seeds and fruit to signify the vitality of life. Characterised by organic forms and understated elegance, her works often demonstrate a strong sense of symmetry and balance as well as an intuitive understanding of material.
Known for her visually stunning tactile works that challenge the notion of a painting, Jane Lee often pushes the limits of materials and techniques used in painting, examining its processes, significance and relevance in contemporary art practice. Recent selected presentations include Freely, Freely, STPI, Singapore (2015); Dear Painter, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Singapore (2015); Frontiers Reimagined, Museo di Palazzo Grimani, Venice (2015); Singapore Eye, Art Science Museum, Singapore (2015); Modern Love, Institute of Contemporary Art, Singapore (2014); Medium at Large, Singapore Art Museum (2014); Panorama: Recent Art from Contemporary Asia, SAM at 8Q (2012). Her work Status (2009) is part of the permanent collection in the Singapore Art Museum. Her largest work to date Raw Canvas, measuring 9.3m by 7.1m was showcased at Singapore Biennale 2008 and Collectors Stage at Singapore Art Museum in 2011.
Acclaimed watercolorist Ong Kim Seng is described as the ultimate ‘maestro of light’. His signature style is marked by a consummate handling of light and shadows in his pieces, sensitive composition and meticulous detail. His illustrious career is marked by local and international accolades including the prestigious national Cultural Medallion (1991), and a litany of awards including the acclaimed Dolphin Fellowship (2000) conferred by the American Watercolour Society, as well as the Ida Wells Memorial Award (2001), Winsor & Newton Award (2000), the Barse Miller Memorial Award (1992), the Clara Stroud Memorial Award (1989), the Lucy B. Moore Award (1988), Paul B. Remmy memorial Award (1983). The artist was awarded the Excellence for Singapore Award (2000) by the Singapore Totalisator Board, as well as the Singapore Internaionale award (2001) by the Singapore International Foundation and the Arts Supporter Award (2001) by the National Arts Council. Currently the honorary President of the Singapore Watercolour Society, following a long term as its President (1991-2001). Ong continues to actively promote watercolour with organizations and bodies around the world.
Do Ho Suh’s works reflect the transnational dilemma of home and belonging, malleable space and memory, and the boundaries of identity. Suh broke new ground in 2009 creating 'thread drawings' embedded in paper, leading to a long-term collaboration with STPI in developing thread drawings of greater complexity and scale. Suh’s new body of 3D thread drawings titled Specimens (2015) renders 1:1 scale architectural elements and fabric sculptures in paper. Alongside these, sculptural paper works from his ongoing series Rubbing/Loving act as symbols of memory, as within them the artist preserves his experience of living within spaces of attachment through rubbing pastels over paper-covered surfaces.
One of the most influential artists of his generation, Rirkrit Tiravanija is a pioneer of relational aesthetics - constructing social environments that often blur the line between art and life. Combining traditional object making, public and private performances, teaching, and other forms of public service and social actions, his works involve collective participation as a means to activate his art. While at STPI - inspired by H.G. Wells’ dystopian novel Time Machine - Tiravanija constructed narratives of time and space using various print and paper techniques that consider the textured, diverse and chaotic nature of time, capable of developing our consciousness of time and existence.