Public Forum: Contemporary Art and Writing Traditions

Encompassing a wide range of expertise in art practices, collecting, education, scholarship and institutions, Deng Guoyuan, Thomas Kellein and Cai Heng share a deep concern for global and cross cultural issues seen through contemporary art. They will discuss contemporary art in relation to writing and textual traditions, including the calligraphic and literati aesthetics. As an artist, Deng’s paintings and installations are inspired by Nature just as they are predicated on the textual. His incorporation of calligraphy as crumpled papers in his landscape assemblage invokes culture and materiality. Coming from a background of curating works by Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Hiroshi Sugimoto and others, Kellein’s current research interest is in writing in art, as in gestural painting, calligraphy and text incorporated into artworks, particularly of Asia, North Africa and Middle East, and in conversations with the western avant garde traditions, in looking at how writing in art underpins broad cultural concerns. Intensely involved with art practices and collection development in Singapore, Cai Heng’s research interests include modern and contemporary ink, modernity and art of Chinese diaspora. Cai has curated the Wu Guanzhong collection in the National Gallery Singapore. Deng, like Wu, has an art practice trajectory of moving from oil to ink paining. The panel will look at the ‘calligraphic’ and ‘gestural’ in East Asian, Islamic and Western contemporary art and discuss the relations between language specific legibility, and intercultural and intermedia signification.

The panel discussion is jointly organised by School of Social Sciences and Wee Kim Wee Centre, Singapore Management University.

Panelists:

Professor Deng Guoyuan, President, Tianjin Academy of Art, and Artist featured in the Singapore Biennale; regarded as “the most experimental art college president” (by Tianjin Meishuwang), Deng relates his experimentation in art practice with his philosophy in education in the context of the arts ecology. Deng is also honorary professor at University of South Dakota, and visiting professor at the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Germany.

Dr Thomas Kellein, Art Advisor, Former Director of Kunsthalle Basel, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, and Chinati Foundation (Donald Judd Collections), and Former Professor, Philipps-Universität Marburg. He is also the advisor to the Boehringer Collection of the Written Art Foundation.

Dr Cai Heng, Curator, National Gallery Singapore, holds a PhD in Art History and Theory from The University of Sydney, and has played key curatorial roles in exhibitions including Seeing the Kite Again: Wu Guanzhong Donation Exhibition (2011), Siapa Nama Kamu: Art in Singapore since the 19th century (2015), and Wu Guanzhong: Beauty Beyond Form (2015). Her research interests include modern and contemporary ink, modernity and art of the Chinese diaspora.

 

Moderator: Assoc Prof Kwok Kian Chow, SMU

Professor Deng will present in Chinese. English summary and bilingual discussion.

  • Dr Cai Heng

    Curator

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    Dr Cai Heng

    Cai Heng, Curator, National Gallery Singapore, holds a PhD in Art History and Theory from The University of Sydney, and has played key curatorial roles in exhibitions including Seeing the Kite Again: Wu Guanzhong Donation Exhibition (2011), Siapa Nama Kamu: Art in Singapore since the 19th century (2015), and Wu Guanzhong: Beauty Beyond Form (2015). Her research interests include modern and contemporary ink, modernity and art of the Chinese diaspora.

  • Professor Deng Guoyuan

    Professor

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    Professor Deng Guoyuan

    President, Tianjin Academy of Art, and Artist featured in the Singapore Biennale

  • Dr Thomas Kellein

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    Dr Thomas Kellein

    Dr Thomas Kellein, Art Advisor, Former Director of Kunsthalle Basel, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, and Chinati Foundation (Donald Judd Collections), and Former Professor, Philipps-Universität Marburg

SINGAPORE MANAGEMENT UNIVERSITY

Incorporated on 12 January 2000, Singapore Management University (SMU) aims to groom outstanding business leaders and creative entrepreneurs capable of excelling in a rapidly changing and dynamic world.  The University is known to be a pioneer for its interactive pedagogy of seminar-style teaching in small class sizes which remains its unique hallmark.  Today, SMU is home to more than 6,000 students and comprises six schools: Lee Kong Chian School of Business, School of Accountancy, School of Economics, School of Social Sciences, School of Information Systems and School of Law.  SMU offers bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degree programmes in business and management-related areas, ranging from Accountancy, Economics, Finance, Wealth Management, Law, Information Systems and Social Science.  It also has a dedicated Office of Research, a number of institutes and centres of excellence, and provides public and customised programmes for working professionals through Executive Education. Collaborations with leading institutions, including The Wharton School, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago, allow SMU to draw on academic and research strengths across all major disciplines.  The SMU campus is a state-of-the art facility located right in the heart of Singapore's civic and business district.