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Cheong Soo Pieng:
1970s Mature Abstract Works

05.04 // 21.04 2024

CSP 674 Sleeping Lady AC 22.03.jpg

Sleeping Lady, 1975, Mixed media, 61.5 x 77cm

artcommune is pleased to present Cheong Soo Pieng: 1970s Mature Abstract Works, a showcase of over 10 significant abstract and mixed media works by the Singapore pioneer master. More than any of his Nanyang contemporaries, Soo Pieng worked prolifically across styles and mediums, and his body of work reflects a tireless interrogation of traditional forms and values. After his sojourns around Europe - Italy, England, Germany, Netherlands, and Belgium - from 1961-63, Soo Pieng’s practice gravitated towards largely abstract and mixed media work in the following decade. By the late 1960s, his pictorial expressions had departed completely from his earlier Paris School influences and revealed his preoccupation with pushing the format and formal qualities of painting as an expansive and indeterminate language.


Soo Pieng’s mature abstract output in the 1970s is synonymous with the most accomplished artistic period of his career. However, due to the scarcity of oral and written materials left behind by the artist, the abstract series of this period are amongst his least understood works, and scholars and audience have struggled to contextualise their complex forms and meanings. The 1970s mature abstract works featured in this exhibition range from mixed media metal relief works to abstract ink on paper, throwing the spotlight on Soo Pieng’s exploration of a new artistic discourse and his continuous strive for original expressions during this period.

About the Artist  

Cheong Soo Pieng (b. 1917, Xiamen, China – d. 1983, Singapore) is an important pioneer of the Nanyang art style and one of the most creative Chinese artists of the 20th century. His varied output, which centres on the bold pursuit of Modern aesthetics and innovative amalgamation of forms and techniques derived from both Western and Chinese art traditions, was instrumental in shaping the development of Singapore Modern art. Soo Pieng studied at Xiamen Academy of Fine Arts in 1933 and furthered his art education at Xinhua Academy of Fine Arts in Shanghai in 1936. At both academies, he was schooled in a Beaux-Arts type of curriculum and was well exposed to both Chinese painting and Western modern art (in particular the school of Paris - Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism). After the 2nd World War, as a civil war broke out between the Communists and Kuomintang forces, Soo Pieng relocated to Singapore in 1946. He took up a teaching position at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and thereon began his fervent synthesis of Western and Chinese pictorial styles, drawing often from themes and subjects relating to his new, immediate environment in Malaya.


Several overseas sojourns undertaken by Soo Pieng between the 1950s and 1970s were known to have effected distinct stylistic transitions in his artistic oeuvre. For example, the historic 1952 Bali trip (with Liu Kang, Chen Wen Hsi and Chen Chong Swee) culminated in the birth of a regionally influential nanyang art style and seeded Soo Pieng’s lifelong fascination with Balinese figures and Southeast Asian motifs; his longhouse stay in Borneo in 1959 inspired as well a lifelong interest in styling the indigenous Dayak people in a variety of painting formats and mediums; his European trip from 1962-63 initiated a devoted exploration of abstract and mixed media works; and his first return trip to China in 1979 resulted in a repertoire of ink works that sought to reinvent Chinese classicism.

Exhibition Period

Date: 5 – 21 April 2024

Time: 12–7 pm daily

Venue: artcommune gallery (address below)


Contact Information

artcommune gallery

76 Bras Basah Road

#01-01, Carlton Hotel Singapore 189558

Tel: +65 63364240     M: +65 97479046

Artwork Selection

Other Works by the Artist

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