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Tung Yue Nang: Life

11.05 // 26.05. 2024

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artcommune gallery is pleased to present Life by veteran artist Tung Yue Nang. Tung (b. 1959, Singapore) has
secured a reputation, over the past decade, as an accomplished draughtsman and ink painter with a recognisable
landscape style that is stupendously rich in detail yet delicately poetic in its espousal of Chinese ink-and-brush
aesthetic. However, Photography, as much as painting, has been a constant in Tung’s life as an artist. In the period
of 2000s, the passion he reserved for photography even took precedence over painting and he devoted well over
a decade to mostly travelling and developing a body of photographic work.

Life is Tung Yue Nang's first solo photography exhibition and focuses on an aspect of his work that is less well
known and exposed to the public. This curated showcase of 60 photograph prints at artcommune gallery features
locales and topics spanning 6 countries - China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Singapore. While these
works constitute but a fraction of Tung’s dedicated engagement with the medium, they bring to sharp focussome
classically human themes that have always preoccupied him - beauty in the mundane, family bonds, the interior
lives of ordinary people, old-world values in a changing society, childhood innocence, the resilience of life, and
the quest for spirituality.

Tung has chosen ‘Life’ as the exhibition title, for the simple and important reason that life is the subject of his
photography. Life as experienced and pursued in different parts of the world, which he feels immeasurably
fortunate to have encountered, and at times lived amongst. Like the pilgrim in search of meaning, truth, and
spirituality, but with a recording instrument that apprehends moments from the quotidian to the transcendental,
his push of the shutter is guided by a yearning to situate one’s understanding of and exchange with the world. The show is accompanied by a 95-page catalogue containing over 60 photographs, including all the works on exhibit. In addition, a handful of Tung’s signature ink landscapes will also be on display, providing audience an interesting window as well as point of departure for comprehending Tung’s artistic philosophy, techniques, and approach to each medium.


Unlike painting, which allows Tung to purposefully reference and reconstruct reality by taking in and leaving out things to compose an ideal image-world, street photography is anchored by unpredictability and instantaneous responses. There is the challenge to conceive from an unconstructed mise-en-scène, with the hope of capturing at a stroke, the delicate balance that upholds the dynamics interweaving people, things and environments.


For instance, while in in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Tung captured first-hand how locals in the countryside were left to cope with flash floods that destroyed their homes and further diminished what were already scant possessions. In one image, children swim in the water and laugh on as they cling to the rear of a half-submerged lorry that struggles to ferry the villagers to dry land. Another reveals a lady lounging indifferently on her bed, watching the television in a half-submerged room lined with pails. His images highlight how resilient ordinary people, and even children, can be in the face of hardships.


28.5 x 39 cm each

His images of Vietnam are riveting portraits of tight-knit family life and quotidian routines that unfold across private and communal spaces. They illuminate how the ubiquitous motorbikes, sidewalk vendors, and interiors of intergenerational dwelling form the everyday, familiar fabric of life in the city.


28.5 x 39 cm each






















During a trip to Shanghai, Tung spent two weeks winding in and out of the alleys of what were amongst the last remnants of a traditional neighbourhood. He had learnt that the entire dwelling, located from across Shanghai North Railway Station, was on course to be demolished as part of the largest urban renewal project in Shanghai. The demise of traditions and old ways of life in the face of rapid modernisation, however wistful, was by then every city’s narrative in a fast-changing world. Tung thus took upon himself the vital assignment to document these quarters and the inhabitants that gave life to the environment.


28.5 x 39 cm each 


Tung’s adventures in India are memories of epic proportions. He mingled with locals and took in the colourful spectacle of Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan. He had also followed a group of over a hundred pilgrims to the Kedarnath Temple, one of the holiest Hindu shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. Setting off from the city, it took their vehicles over twenty hours of arduous road journey through winding mountain passes, at times braving hurtleddown rocks that obstructed the narrow paths, to arrive at this ancient site nestled in the remote Himalayas of Uttarakhand. Against its scenic backdrop of snow-capped mountain peaks and lush green valleys, thousands of faithful from all walks of life had piously gathered to embark on rituals to cleanse themselves of sins and attain salvation.



28.5 x 39 cm each 








Another trip in Varanasi in 2010 saw him followed the trail of local Hindu pilgrims along the crowded banks of ‘Ganga Ma’ - Ganges Mother, the epicentre of spiritual life for millions in India. Shuffling his lens amidst a multitude of actions, he caught sight of a lifeless, departed body on the ground. Like many others every year, a man had come to end his life by the river. Regarded by believers as the place on earth that lies closest to heaven, to be cremated at the Ganges is to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death. That he was a witness to these sacred last moments of a man’s mortality was nothing short of profound and sobering for Tung.


28.5 x 39 cm each 











28.5 x 39 cm each 


About the Artist 

Tung Yue Nang (b. 1959, Singapore) 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 artisteducator, See Hiang To. 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, tranquillity, and simplicity.


Through his distinct and contemporary expression of Chinese ink, Tung Yue Nang seeks to immortalise the unique cultural elements and everyday beauty of Singapore’s heritage neighbourhoods. Every painting is a nuanced display of humanity, and through it he connects the audience with the vitality and immediacy of life. The artist’s profound connection with these local landscapes flow ever so naturally during his composing process. As a result, the old buildings with their weathered facades, the folks engrossed in their everyday routines, and the coming and going of individuals in his captured moment all come alive organically in his painting. The viewer 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 everyday life in our urban city-state.

Official Opening with Artist in Attendance 

Date and Time: Saturday, 11 May 2024, 3 - 6pm

Exhibition Period

Date: 11 - 26 May 2024

Time: 12 - 7pm daily

Venue: artcommune gallery (address below) 


Contact Information

artcommune gallery

76 Bras Basah Road#01-01

Singapore 189558

Tel: +65 63364240       M: +65 97479046

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