Culture / Art Republik

Arriving At STPI Is The Master Of Composition Soo Pieng

Insightful and original, Soo Pieng: Master of Composition, invites visitors to rediscover the surprising versatility of the pioneer artist and celebrate his multifarious artistic achievements.

Jan 31, 2019 | By LUXUO

Untitled. 1967. Mixed media and metal relief on wood. 76.2 x 101.6 x 8.9 cm


Modern Master Cheong Soo Pieng kicks off Singapore Art Week 2019 at STPI. For the very first time, the artist’s ingenious approach to composition and materiality is examined, highlighting his artistic breadth and depth in an unprecedented manner through fifty-two exemplary paintings, sculptures and works on paper which feature Chinese ink oil, and metal, amongst other materials.


A pioneer of East-West modernism since the 1950s


Forest. 1948. Oil on canvas. 81 x 92.5 x 6 cm.


Cheong Soo Pieng (1917 – 1983), born in Xiamen, China has been lauded as one of Southeast Asia’s most important artists emerging from the post-war Chinese diaspora. He is an innovative artist and became one of the first artists to paint in the ‘Nanyang (South Seas) Style’.


Modern Painting. 1975. Oil on canvas. 156 x 127 x 6.5 cm.


Frequent travel around Southeast Asia refined his distinctive depiction of the female figure, while his visits to Europe exposed him to modernist abstraction leading to his sculptural explorations.


Balinese Lady. 1980. Oil on canvas. 79 x 80 x 4.5 cm


Cheong’s exceptional contribution to the art and cultural scene in Singapore earned him the Meritorious Service Medal in 1962. Cheong’s body of work continues to be studied, exhibited and widely collected today, and is part of public collections including the: National Heritage Board, Singapore; National University of Singapore; University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Blue Atmosphere. 1966. Oil on canvas. 70 x 105.5 x 3 cm


When the artist passed in 1983, he was just four months shy of his retrospective at the former National Museum Art Gallery. Where his works were shown extensively over the course of his career, in both solo and group settings, across Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, London, Berlin, Hamburg, Glasgow and Dublin.

This exhibition showcases works gleaned from important private collections. Providing a definitive selection of some of Soo Pieng’s most seminal creations.

In review are both popular favourites and newly-revealed masterpieces that allow fresh considerations of some of the artist’s most important achievements;

  • the subject of the personality of the people of Southeast Asia
  • the re-creation of the Chinese-styled landscape, and;
  • Soo Pieng’s development of modern abstraction.

With attention to the artist’s innovative composing processes.

A father of East-West modernism in Singapore, Soo Pieng was an innovator who persistently experimented with a wide range of media and expressions, producing a large and diverse body of consistently excellent artworks. As the artworks were dispersed by the volume of exhibitions over time and continents, it has taken years to amass pieces that both fulfil the narrative about Soo Pieng’s achievements, as well as show off some of his finest compositions.


Untitled. 1963. Ink on paper. 103.5 x 129 x 5 cm


STPI is a dynamic creative workshop and contemporary art gallery based in Singapore. Since its establishment in 2002, STPI Creative Workshop is a rigorous space for pushing the boundaries of various print and paper-making techniques. STPI Gallery is an active platform which fosters the exchange of ideas in contemporary art with its diverse exhibitions and dynamic public programme.

For further information please visit, or contact, [email protected]


Soo Pieng: Master of Composition runs from 19 Jan – 9 Mar 2019



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