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Light within Ink




Light within Ink tourist photo

(Wu Guanzhong poses with his model during an outdoor painting session in Bali. 1994.)

In his first solo show in Singapore after more than 12 years, acclaimed Singaporean photographer and art gallerist Chua Soo Bin presents more than 50 beautifully intimate portraits of late Chinese painter Wu Guanzhong shot between the mid-1980s to late 2000s.

This comprehensive collection of images - shown for the first time in Singapore and Southeast Asia - documents the creative life of Wu and how he sought inspiration for some of his most significant artworks. The showcase is organised along three main chapters: Wu’s trip to Singapore in the 1980s where he created memorable paintings from the Singapore Bird Park, to the British Museum in London where he staged his solo show – one of the most prestigious platforms in Europe accorded to a Chinese artist in the early 1990s, and finally to Indonesia and Thailand where enchanted by the idyllic tropics, the artist in his 80s painted even more tirelessly.

Unfurling alongside is a deep friendship, admiration and respect between two prominent artists of the contemporary age, one painting with ink and oil and the other with light, that traversed time and geography.

“这是一个艺术家对一个艺术家的记录。是已经过去的昨天对还没有过去的昨天的记录。” —吴冠中的学生,艺术家王怀庆

“This is a record of 
an artist by an artist. Yesterday may have passed, but the record is still alive, fresh and lucid.” —Wang Huaiqing, artist and student of Wu Guanzhong

About Chua Soo Bin (b. 1932, Singapore)

Chua Soo Bin is one of Singapore’s most accomplished and versatile photographers, having played the roles as curator and gallerist as well. During his time in commercial and advertising photography from 1960s to 1980s, he took on projects from major clients such as Singapore Airlines, winning accolades for his highly creative concepts and imagery. Aside from his professional practice, he was also recognised for his personal works, having been the youngest photographer in Singapore at the age of 23 to earn the accreditation of Associate of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain (A.R.P.S.) in 1955. In the mid-1980s, he embarked on an intensive project to meet and photograph 14 of China's most established ink painters. The images were compiled in a landmark publication titled Legends: Soo Bin's portraits of Chinese ink masters, which garnered him the 1988 Cultural Medallion (Photography). The series had since been exhibited in more than 20 cities in China. His works have also entered the collections of major art institutions such as the Singapore Art Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Art and National Art Museum of China. In 1990, he founded Soobin Art Gallery, known today as Soobin Art International, introducing Chinese contemporary art to the region.

Dialogue sessions

19 Aug, Sat | 2.30pm – 4pm | Blue Room | Free with registration here  

Hear Chua Soo Bin and art writer Teo Han Wue share their recollections of late Chinese artist Wu Guanzhong and his close association with Singapore and Southeast Asia since the 1980s, which eventually led to his generous donation of paintings to Singapore in 2008. The session is conducted in Mandarin.

2 Sep, Sat | 3pm – 4.30pm | Blue Room | Free with registration here 

Join prominent Singaporean artist and former National Museum curator Choy Weng Yang and Teo Han Wue as they explore the phenomenon of photographers who document the creative life and works of artists. Find out more about the dynamics of such pairings, as well as the challenges and rewards of such partnerships. The session is conducted in English.

Exhibition tours

19 Aug, Sat | 1pm – 2pm (in Mandarin) | Free with registration here

2 Sep, Sat | 1pm – 2pm (in English) |Free with registration here


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