Celebrate 100 years of Shui Tit Sing 许铁生

Shui Tit Sing (许铁生) (1914-1997), a painter and sculptor from Singapore’s early art scene, was trained in painting and later Western painting in China, his birthplace. Master painter Pan Tianshou (潘天寿) was one of his teachers, and among his schoolmates were renowned painters Wu Guanzhong (吴冠中), Chu Teh-Chun (朱德群) as well as Zao Wou-Ki (赵无极).

Shui moved to Malaya in 1940, and eventually settled down in Singapore after the war. Apart from having worked as a photo-journalist with Nanyang Siang Pao (南洋商报), Shui had largely taught art and Chinese language at the Catholic High School for close to three decades.

While Shui had developed an acumen in crossing smoothly between the Western painting and the Chinese ink painting techniques, his artistic style took a turn after a group painting tour to Angkor Wat in Cambodia in 1963, which was meant to inspire works of art for the Ten Men Exhibition (十人画展).

Shui then began to dedicate more and more of his time to wood carving that were very much influenced by bas relief from temples around Southeast Asia. I am particularly attracted to how Shui transformed his coloured drawings into wood sculptures, and the compositions simply give me a refreshing feel that puts a smile on my face.

the same composition rendered differently

the same composition rendered differently

The ongoing exhibition, Shui Tit Sing – 100 Years of an Artist through his Archives, is curated by Koh Nguang How, who was granted guardianship of the collection by the family of Shui Tit Sing.

Shui’s legacy includes more than 300 pieces of ink paintings, oil paintings, drawings and sketches, as well as 130 pieces of wood carvings and a few hundred photographs. It is interesting to know that, Shui would photograph his own paintings, as some form of self-documentation maybe.

black & white photographs of original paintings

black & white photographs of original paintings

The exhibition also presents an opportunity to view the rarely-seen four-foot ink paintings. Shui’s notes and reference books are displayed for perusal (with care) too, one of which is a booklet on Henri Matisse, perhaps a hint to Shui’s use of many vibrant colours in some of his works.

a hint of Matisse's influence?

a hint of Matisse’s influence?

Koh Nguang How is an artist and independent researcher on Singapore art, his vast collection of materials on art and culture prompted him to initiate the Singapore Art Archive Project. Koh is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore.

Exhibition: 11th October – 20th December 2014, Tuesday – Sunday 3-8pm

Venue: Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, Block 38, Malan Road, Studio #01-06, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 109441.

More on the exhibition, Shui Tit Sing and Koh Nguang How here and here. For updated duration of the exhibition, please refer to the information above on this blog.

Koh Nguang How’s interview by Lianhe Zaobao (联合早报), Singapore’s local Mandarin daily: 文史工作者许元豪 为已故艺术家许铁生办百年诞辰展

do pay a visit to the exhibition before it closes on 20th December 2014

do pay a visit to the exhibition before it closes on 20th December 2014

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