Yavuz Gallery Singapore is proud to present Singaporean-artist Ian Tee in KILL YOUR DARLINGS. Opening in conjunction with Singapore Art Week 2021 and SEA Focus, the exhibition consists of new paintings and installation works.

The title of the exhibition, KILL YOUR DARLINGS,  is an expression referring to the critical moment in editing a piece of writing, when the author must remove unnecessary storylines or characters for the sake of the overall plot. It speaks to the self-indulgent, sentimental and peripheral elements that are written out – the things that need to die for the narrative to go on, whether they are the people who do not fit in, personal ambitions and dreams, the luxuries we cannot afford.

Tee’s suite of new ‘Target paintings’ explores its implication on the individual and social body. Whether its adolescent feelings of rejection or “deviant” tendencies that are singled out by those in power, the works reference moments of vulnerability in popular culture and recent history.

The exhibition title also relates to the final step in the making of these works, the gesture of taking a knife to the painting. At times, deep slashes cross out the composition; in other instances, they guide the eye towards collage fragments. American artist Rashid Johnson speaks of collage materials not as found objects, but things that are “searched for”; similarly in Tee’s works, the painterly and textual/ semantic come together as a medium for release.

Presented alongside the ‘Target paintings’ are small format ‘Fire Blankets’. Their scale is based on the standard dimensions for children-sized fibreglass blankets; and the pieces bring together old clothes, unwanted textiles and industrial safety materials sewn in a composition that recalls hard language of geometric abstraction. Yet, their soft materiality and exposed edges suggest an underlying fragility holding the patchwork together.


Ian Tee (b. 1994, Singapore) graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore in 2018. His practice investigates the social space of abstraction through questioning surfaces and form. Conflating visual language from the history of painting with the energy of rebellious youth cultures, he is interested in how aesthetic narratives can be reworked and recontextualised. His work manifests in a variety of media— destroyed metal paintings, bleached and dyed textiles, and collage.

He was a recipient of the Ngee Ann Kongsi scholarship and winner of the 2017 Cliftons Art Prize for Singapore. In 2019, Tee presented his first solo exhibition with Yavuz Gallery titled SWEET DREAMS.