In Talks With: T.K. Sabapathy

Thoughts on Composition: on seeing pictures by Cheong Soo Pieng

A lecture by T. K. Sabapathy



The lecture focuses on an aspect that is largely muted in recent discussions on art, and the topic for an exhibition of Cheong Soo Pieng’s pictures at STPI gallery, namely: composition in art. It springs from closely examining a picture titled A Corner of Art Studio, dated 1947, the earliest in the show. It deals with the making of a picture (an easel picture) in the painter’s studio and features a model. These (i.e. the studio, easel picture, model) are the creative “building blocks” that Cheong Soo Pieng employs and develops in his practice throughout his life. The lecture deals with each of them along twin trajectories: historically in relation to the modern in art in Singapore and particularly in relation to the practice of this artist. It is illustrated.


About the Speaker:

T. K. Sabapathy, born in 1938, is Singapore’s foremost art historian, curator and critic. For four decades, he has devoted his life to the research, documentation and support of contemporary visual arts in Singapore and Malaysia.He has been a lecturer of art history at the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological Institution and National Institute of Education. He set up and headed Singapore’s pioneer art research facilities, the Contemporary Asian Art Centre and subsequently, Asia Contemporary. He has also written countless articles, books, catalogues and artist monographs, making an invaluable contribution to the study of art in Southeast Asia, and is well respected for his scholarship and beloved for his tireless advocacy of art and artists of Singapore and Malaysia.


Read the transcript of the talk here.