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5 Pieces You Must Catch At The National Gallery’s New Exhibition

National Gallery Singapore Opens First International Co-Curated Exhibition With Paris’ Centre Pompidou

From 31 Mar to 17 Jul, head down to National Gallery Singapore for a chance to see the gallery’s first international co-curated exhibition. This will be the first time the gallery will house works from international artists beyond the region.

Gallery goers can look forward to seeing the famed works of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse alongside regionally renown artists Nguyen Gia Tri and Affandi.

The exhibition, Reframing Modernism, will be held at the Singtel Special Gallery within the National Gallery. Reframing Modernism will showcase 217 works from 51 artists across 3 galleries. Half of the collection belongs to the preeminent Centre Pompidou Art Gallery in Paris.

The aim of the exhibition is to juxtapose Southeast Asian and European artists, drawing parallels on how the various artists represented one of the most influential artistic drives of the 20th century − modernism.

Contrasting Southeast Asian and Western Art


1. The Fairies by Nguyen Gia Tri, 1936

This art piece is the largest known piece that Nguyen handpainted on lacquered wood. The collection compares this to Henri Matisse’s Interior in Yellow and Blue, completed in 1946. Both employ similar techniques that cause the eye to wander over the canvas, discovering new details upon closer inspection yet both paintings are vastly different in artistic style and use of colour.



2. Harmonie Verte: Les Deux Soeurs by Lê Phổ, 1938 (extreme right)

Lê Phổ is one of Southeast Asia’s most acclaimed artists. Born in Vietnam, he earned a scholarship to study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Known for his still life paintings with surrealist touches, this piece exhibits this with the slightly elongated torsos of the women.



3. Impression V (Park) by Vassily (Wassily) Kandinsky, 1911 (middle)

Known as the father of modernist abstract art, Kandinsky is said to have painted one of the first pieces of purely abstract art. At Reframing Modernism, you can trace the progress of Kandinsky’s work from his vibrant use of colours to completely reinventing his art style to portray abstract work.

In Gallery 2, you will be able to compare how artists tackle abstract art, a key component of modernist art.



4. La Chatte Et Le Coq by Pablo Picasso, 1953

Gallery 3 is themed around the technique of cubism which is considered the most influential art movement of the 20th century. Pablo Picasso is known as one of the co-founders of the Cubist movement.

Picasso used a monochromatic palette to emphasise the shapes of objects. One of his favourites deconstructions is of the rooster, which you can catch a glimpse of here.



5. Landscape by Georgette Chen, 1930s

Georgette Chen and Cheong Soo Pieng are the only Singaporean artists to feature in Reframing Modernism. Surprisingly, this Georgette Chen piece was contributed to the exhibition by Centre Pompidou. It is believed that the centre acquired this piece when Chen was studying art in Paris, selling this piece of work during an exhibition of Chinese artists.

Chen’s ability to showcase both in Singapore and Paris is a strong testament to the cosmopolitan nature of her work.