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In Habitable Structures

Exhibiting Artists: Hong Sek Chern

Venue: Utterly Art 229A South Bridge Road > venue details

Dates: 18 Mar 2010 - 28 Mar 2010

In Singapore, one is constantly bombarded by fragments of various cultures and the juxtaposition of old with new. In particular, the urban landscape is crowded with disparate buildings and structures that jostle to gain a foothold in our mindstream to become part of our visual lexicon. If left to their own devices, visual morphemes push their way into our minds and morph into visual noise that is both nonsensical and irrational.

As a response, Hong Sek Chern attempts to recreate what that can mean for her. She has applied a traditional Chinese ink landscape painting technique and expanded upon one aspect from Xie He in his Six Methods of Painting (谢赫六法).  In this succinctly-phrased formula, Xie He has advocated the method of chuan yi mo xie (传移模写) which is to translate from reality and depict in creation. Loosely interpreting as active play with elements of buildings and structures, Sek Chern creates depictions of supposed interiors that might suggest habitable structures. Here, the external wall of Old Parliament House is turned around and has taken on the guise of a platform that extends into the picture, there a section of the Benjamin Sheares Bridge is used to prop up a wall,  and elsewhere, a section of the Bayer Building is turned into a section of a landing. The end result looks logical as the artist has maintained basic principles to enable a suggestion of space within a two-dimensional surface which is seemingly in line with the structure of the ancient craft of ink landscape painting.


  • Hong Sek Chern


    Hong Sek Chern (b.1967) graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts with a Diploma in Fine Art (1995) and from Goldsmiths College, University of London with an MA Fine Art (1998). She likes to work with flat surfaces and uses linear, non-linear or multi-point perspective in her work. Sek Chern’s interpretation of the Singapore urban landscape in Chinese ink has won her several awards in Singapore. Her works belong in the collections of the Singapore Art Museum, Taipei Fine Art Museum, Nati

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