East-West pairings

LE PHO (1907 TO 2001) AND LEONARD FOUJITA (1886 TO 1968)

The development of modern art in Vietnam may be seen in the way Vietnamese artist Le Pho combines influences from traditional Vietnamese art with Western painting.

His pieces are often imbued with a sense of harmony and delicacy and the show includes examples of his innovative work from the 1930s, in mediums such as oil paint, lacquer and gouache on silk.

His work is shown alongside those of other artists such as the Japan-born Leonard Foujita.

Both artists received their formal training in art in Asia before moving to France and becoming part of the cosmopolitan art world in Paris. They knew each other personally and held a series of exhibitions together in France in 1957 and 1958.


Harmonie Verte Les Deux Soeurs (Harmony in Green – The Two Sisters) by artist Le Pho combines influences from traditional Vietnamese art with Western painting. PHOTO: NATIONAL HERITAGE BOARD

Their works are similar in that they both combine influences from modern French painting with the refined, linear aesthetics of ink painting.

Both artists also tend to favour intimate subjects of interiors, portraits and nudes.


LATIFF MOHIDIN (BORN 1941) AND JEAN-MICHEL ATLAN (1913 TO 1960)

Among the first wave of Malaysian artists in the 1950s and 1960s who studied abroad, Latiff Mohidin was a student at the University of the Arts in Berlin from 1960 to 1964. After graduating, he began a series of works titled Pago-Pago that has gone on to shape his artistic pursuit - experimenting with natural, cultural and historical motifs.


Pago-Pago 69 (Metamorphosis) by Malaysian artist Latiff Mohidin. PHOTO: NATIONAL HERITAGE BOARD

The series gets its name from the word "pagoda" and the colloquial Malay word "pagar", which refers to the beams of traditional Malay houses, architectural forms that he deconstructed in painting to come up with a South-east Asian language of abstraction.

His work is shown alongside those of other artists such as French abstract painter Jean-Michel Atlan, who painted totemic motifs that drew upon his Algerian heritage.


ROBERT DELAUNAY (1885 TO 1941) AND HERNANDO R. OCAMPO (1911 TO 1978)

The French artist Robert Delaunay was interested in scientific theories of colour and he worked in a style known as Orphism, which is concerned with capturing colour, motion and light.


Robert Delaunay’s Portrait De Madame Heim (Madame Heim), done in a style known as Orphism. PHOTO: CENTRE POMPIDOU, MNAM-CCI/BERTRAN D PREVOST/DIST. RMN-GP

His work is shown alongside paintings by artists from South-east Asia, including those of Hernando R. Ocampo of the Philippines.

Ocampo's work, especially later in his career, uses interlocking patterns of amorphous shapes to suggest subtle ocular relations between colours.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2016, with the headline 'East-West pairings'. Print Edition | Subscribe