Chen Wen Hsi Exhibition @ Kingsmead
Publisher: artcommune gallery & Quek Kah Pok
Artist(s): Chen Wen Hsi
Author(s): Chow Yian Ping, Angelene Chan
Publication Year: 2019
Dimensions: 260 x 250 mm (closed);
260 x 507 mm (open)
To purchase, visit us at artcommune gallery.
Published in conjunction with the landmark exhibition Homecoming: Chen Wen Hsi Exhibition @ Kingsmead at 5 Kingsmead Road, Singapore, from 12 April - 3 May 2019. 5 Kingsmead Road is the former residence of Singapore pioneer artist Chen Wen Hsi. It is the only private residence that has been marked as a historic site under two categories by the National Heritage Board, specifically culture and community, and art. Homecoming: Chen Wen Hsi Exhibition @ Kingsmead opened this private residence to the public for the first time to showcase two historic mural works created by Chen Wen Hsi in the period of 1959 - 1964. About 35 paintings drawn from private collections were also exhibited inside the house, providing audience the opportunity to view some of the best works created by the artist in his lifetime.
Born in 1906 in Guangdong, China, Chen Wen Hsi began his career as an art educator at the Chinese High School shortly after his arrival in Singapore in 1949. In 1958, he moved out of the teachers’ quarters in the Chinese High School where he had been residing to a house that was less than a kilometre from the school. He had a stretch of wall specially built at the front porch and created colourful mural paintings on the two different sides of this wall. His art studio was located on the right side of the house, looking out to a garden where he kept a menagerie of animals including roosters, peacocks, gibbons, squirrels, dogs and fishes. This house, which sat on 5 Kingsmead Road, was Chen Wen Hsi’s home for thirty-four years until he passed away from cancer on 17 December 1991. After being left vacant for almost eight years, the property was bought over by artist Tay Joo Mee and her husband Greg Seow in 1998. Though the original architecture had largely been modified, the murals were retained and incorporated into the design of the couple’s new house.
This bilingual publication features around 35 colour plates of Chen Wen Hsi’s paintings, an essay on the history of Chen Wen Hsi’s former residence and surviving murals by Ms. Chow Yian Ping, Lianhe Zaobao Senior Correspondent & former Assistant Director (Programmes and International Relations) and Curator at Singapore Art Museum, an essay on designing for conservation by Ms. Angelene Chan, CEO of DP Architects, and a reproduced essay written by Chen Wen Hsi in 1976.