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Forever | 人长久 Ink Paintings by Tung Yue Nang
May 13 @ 12:00 pm - May 28 @ 7:00 pmFree
artcommune gallery is pleased to present the latest solo exhibition of veteran artist Tung Yue Nang. The show, which is on view at artcommune gallery from 13 to 28 May 2023, features 24 new ink works by the artist, including a momentous and large-scale ink landscape of Chinatown scene measuring 95 x 548 cm.
Born in Singapore in 1959, Tung Yue Nang (邓汝能) cultivated a keen interest for the arts since young. He delved into the formal arts world at the age of 15, when he began learning Chinese painting, calligraphy, seal carving and engraving under the tutelage of pioneer artist-educator, Shi Xiang Tuo. Over the past three decades, his art practice has evolved to encompass Western mediums such as acrylic and mixed media painting, collage, sculpture, and photography. However, the medium of Chinese brush and ink remains the cornerstone of his practice and his immersion in the art form is guided by the Chinese Tao philosophy, which centres on harmony, tranquility and simplicity.
Over the past decade, Tung Yue Nang has established a dynamic ink repertoire that is recognisable for its dramatic and ornate figurative style. These works combine Western compositional techniques with a delicate Chinese brush-and-ink execution to express the unique beauty and richness of our local cultural landscapes. Architectural environments and human figures are related through tremendous accuracy and detail in these dramatically monochrome paintings.
The exhibition title, ‘Forever’, was translated from the artist’s original Chinese title, ‘⼈长久’. The phrase was taken from a famous Song Chinese poem, Prelude to Water Melody (⽔调歌头- 明⽉⼏时有), which was composed by court-official and literati artist-poet Su Shi (also commonly known as Su Dongbo). The poem was written during the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival of 1076 while Su Shi was feeling melancholic and missing his brother, who was a court official stationed in another faraway state.
Su Shi points out in the poem that, ‘People have sorrows, joys, partings and reunions/ Just as the moon turns dark or bright, and waxes or wanes during different phases/ This is but a reality since ancient times/ Yet one hopes that every man enjoys longevity/ Even with thousand miles apart, that we may all see and be connected by the moon’s beauty.’
Through his art and in his own way, Tung Yue Nang seeks to immortalise the unique cultural elements and everyday beauty of our local heritage streets. Every painting is a nuanced display of humanity, and through it he connects the audience with the vitality and immediacy of life. Because his sincere being and profound connection with the landscape flow ever so naturally into the composition, the old buildings with their weathered charms, and folks passing by the streets or engrossed in their daily routines, come alive organically in his works. One is easily transfixed by the fascinating atmosphere of his Singapore riverside, Chinatown or Joo Chiat shophouse scene, where the coming and going of people and their myriad interactions amplify the hustle and bustle of daily life.