YEOH JIN LENG
b. Ipoh, 1929
ICON III, 1990
Signed and dated 'JinLeng 90' (lower left)
Acrylic on canvas
92.5cm x 116cm
Private Collection, Selangor.
ESTIMATE RM 50,000 - 80,000
PRICE REALISED RM 78,400
Yeoh Jin Leng is a pivotal figure in the realm of Malaysian art – a painter, academician, potter, writer, administrator, and thinker - a sophisticated Malaysian abstract expressionist pioneer. Deriving from “the moving and complex” Icon series as described by the late Tan Sri Zain Azraai,Icon III depicts a pair of symbolic shapes that emulate the silhouette of totemic figures – a simplified and progressive version of his earlierEcology series inspired by the environment and Iban tribe in Sarawak - applied in pastel palette with swift successive brushstrokes. The Icon series was then developed into a body of work titled Earthscapes - the display consisted of slabs of clay in which its surface is densely articulated and was intended to be viewed as pictures. An exemplary of the artist’s visionary thinking, Icon III was conceived based on “nature, the human figure and forms which symbolise world-views of traditional communities in Southeast Asia”.
Yeoh Jin Leng attended the Malaysian Teachers’ College, Kirkby, Liverpool in 1952 and was enrolled to the Chelsea School of Art from 1957 to 1961 as the First Malaysian Federal Scholar for Art. Upon graduation, he attended the London Ministry of Education at London University until 1963. As one of the key drivers in the development of art in Malaysia, he has held various positions in art education and organisations such as Lecturer in Art Education at the Specialist Teachers’ Training Institute, Kuala Lumpur (1963 - 1968); President of Society for Art Education (1974 - 1983); Founder-Member and Vice-President of the Malaysian Artists’ Association (1982 – 1984); Dean of Studies at the Malaysian Institute of Art, Kuala Lumpur (1984 – 1994); and Member of the Board of Trustees, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur (1989 - 1991, 1992 - 1997). He held his first solo exhibition at the British Council, Kuala Lumpur in 1965 and was honoured with a retrospective exhibition by the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur in 1996. He held a mini post-retrospective exhibition titled Ten Years On – a review of Jin Leng’s achievements from 1997 to 2007 in Kuala Lumpur. He has participated in a number of group shows locally and abroad namely the Malaysian Traveling Art Exhibition to Hamburg, Rome, St. Etienne, Paris in 1967, the Young Contemporaries Biennale in Tokyo, the Malaysian Art Exhibition at the Sao Paolo Biennale in 1969 and Transformations 6 Malaysian Artists in Singapore (2000).
Yeoh Jin Leng: Art and Thoughts 1952 – 1995 , T.K. Sabapathy, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, 1996.
Imagining Identities: Narratives in Malaysian Art Volume 1 , RogueArt, 2012.