Bronze works like clouds

Bronze works like clouds
Cultural Medallion recipient Chng Seok Tin, pictured with several bronze sculptures work which will be showcased at her solo exhibition, Gather and Disperse, at Art 2 Gallery.

See paper, leather, fabric and wood cast in bronze at an exhibition opening at Art-2 Gallery yesterday.

Gather & Disperse is Cultural Medallion recipient Chng Seok Tin's latest solo show which features more than 30 pieces of bronze sculptures spanning the 1990s till now.

The 67-year-old artist says of the title: "My bronze sculptures are like clouds, they have their own reasons and their own stories, and they gather together. But like clouds, they will also certainly disperse and where they end up depends on their luck."

She is known for printmaking, but she began exploring the 3-D medium of sculpture in-depth after an accident in 1988 greatly impaired her vision.

She fell from a bus and had to undergo surgery to treat a brain abscess, leaving her with 20 per cent vision in one eye. She says her minimal vision has "recently deteriorated".

She explains her exploration of sculpture: "Two-dimensional works require a lot of vision and because of my vision problems, I changed to focus on 3-D works. With 3-D works, I can feel, I can touch and, sometimes, I can do them more independently."

Chng, who has held more than 25 solo exhibitions in Singapore and abroad, adds that this show will be her swan song to bronze sculpture. She will no longer create new works in the medium.

"Bronze is very costly and very heavy, and I have to depend a lot on other people to help me take the material around to do this, to do that," she says.

Her 2.2m bronze sculpture, Looking Up To Danko (2011), which is housed at the Goodman Arts Centre, cost $14,000 to cast. She says: "If I cannot sell it, I have to put it somewhere, it'll get rusty and dusty... At my age and with my energy level, I cannot afford to do that. If I were younger, I'd do it, but not now."

Her sculpture subjects have also changed through the years. "In the beginning, I focused on nature, but now, I focus more on human beings, activities, the human condition," she says.

When asked why, she says with a laugh: "Maybe I've lived in Singapore for too long. There's no nature here, only people."

The materials she uses at the initial stages of her work are mostly organic. She creates works out of wood, fabric, paper, leather or clay before casting them in bronze.

Ms Vera Ong, Art-2 Gallery director who co-curated the show with the artist, says: "This show is a way of cataloguing all her works from day one until today and putting them in a permanent medium also gives them a continual lifespan.

"Seok Tin realised it was important for her to do that because the mediums she uses are all degradable, such as wood, fabric and clay. By casting them in a strong medium such as bronze, there is more permanence to them."

View it

Where: Art-2 Gallery, 140 Hill Street, Old Hill Street Police Station, 01-03
When: April 2 to April 19, 11am to 7pm, Mondays to Saturdays, closed on Sundays and public holidays
Admission: Free

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