Chen Wen Hsi Exhibition at Kingsmead Road
12.04 // 03.05 2019
artcommune gallery proudly presents Homecoming: Chen Wen Hsi Exhibition @ Kingsmead. This landmark exhibition aims to connect audience with the lived world of Singapore pioneer master Chen Wen Hsi. 5 Kingsmead Road 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. From 12 April to 3 May 2019, this private residence will be open to the public for the first time to showcase two historic mural works created by Chen Wen Hsi in the period of 1959 - 1964. A hallmark of 5 Kingsmead Road, these murals are symbolic of not just his artistic accomplishments but also everyday life. In addition, over 30 paintings drawn from private collection will be on exhibit inside the house, which offers audience a unique opportunity to view some of the best works created by the artist in his lifetime.
Singapore pioneer artist Chen Wen Hsi (b. 1906, Guangdong, China - d. 1991, Singapore) 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 from 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. The artist had a stretch of wall specially erected at the front porch and he painted two colourful abstract mural works 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 abandoned and vacant for almost eight years, the property was bought over by artist Tay Joo Mee and her husband Greg Seow in 1998. While the original architecture of Chen Wen Hsi’s house had largely been modified, the murals were retained and incorporated into the design of the couple’s new house. Over the decades, Tay Joo Mee and her family were faithful voluntary guardians to the murals, protecting and conserving them at their own efforts and expenses.
Along with Chen Wen Hsi’s murals and paintings, artefacts including publishing printing plates used for his catalogues in the 1960s, art books used and left behind by the artist, and old stamps featuring his paintings will be displayed to the public for the first time at 5 Kingsmead Road.
Another highlight of this exhibition is DP Architects’ contribution to a 3D model of the old house. Reproduced from original blueprints and archival photos of Chen Wen Hsi’s former residence, the 3D model enables audience in the re-imagination of Chen Wen Hsi’s original abode and his life within it.
Artist Ben Loong (b. 1988, Singapore), who is represented by AC43 Gallery, will exhibit five installation works that are created in response to the murals and Chen Wen Hsi’s paintings around the house. Ben works primarily in the medium of painting and sculpture. His works display a raw physicality that is inspired by the natural world, as he utilises ideas of materiality and construction to examine the ephemeral nature of human existence. To learn more about Ben Loong and his contemporary take on Chen Wen Hsi’s art, look out for our upcoming email feature coming up shortly.
Finally, this exhibition will be accompanied by a ticketed talk titled Singapore Artist Series: Chen Wen Hsi, happening Saturday, 20 April 2019, 11:00am – 12:30pm at the exhibition venue. In addition to the talk, a 96-page exhibition catalogue that includes full-colour artwork illustrations and essays by LianheZaobao Senior Correspondent & former Assistant Director (Programmes and International Relations) and Curator at Singapore Art Museum, Chow Yian Ping; CEO of DP Architects, Angelene Chan and the artist himself will be available for sale at 5 Kingsmead Road.
This exhibition is supported by National Arts Council Singapore
Talk | Singapore Artist Series: Chen Wen Hsi
Date: Saturday, 20 April 2019
Time:11:00am – 12:30pm
Venue:5 Kingsmead Road, Singapore 267960
Fee: $25 per person
To register your interest, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 12 April - 3May 2019
Time: 12pm – 7.30pm daily
Venue:5 Kingsmead Road, Singapore 267960
231 Bain Street
Bras Basah Complex
#03-39 Singapore 180231
Tel: +65 63364240 M: +65 97479046
For media enquiries or high-resolution image requests, please contact:
Ms. Valerie Anne Lim
Tel: +65 63364240 M: +65 98205731