Sailing By | Solo Exhibition of Chen Dongfan

JW PROJECTS is pleased to announce the launch of Chen Dongfan’s solo exhibition “Sailing By” on 14 January 2024, accompanied by a solo projects to be presented at ART SG.

As his first solo exhibition in Singapore, the exhibition will feature recent paintings that continue the artist’s exploration of the power and warmth of life, while also attempting to echo Singapore’s emotional history as a transshipment point on the Straits route and a place where the world’s populations and cultures converge.
The title of the exhibition, Sailing By, is taken from the 1963 composition of the same name by British composer Ronald Binge. The piece is regularly played on BBC radio before the daily nightly Sailing Weather programme. The piece has a waltz-like musical structure, with woodwinds and strings organising a steady, light, calm and graphic melody.

In his paintings, Chen Dongfan emphasises the power and rhythm of feelings, and his works are always in close relationship with music. The burning of life force is like the stars in the night sky of the sea, the poetic flow responds to the breath of the world, and cruises in the course of time and emotion – many of Chen Dongfan’s creations are related to rivers, oceans, the subconscious, and voyage imagery. 2018, based on the history of Chinese migration in the United States, Chen created a huge spatial painting, “The Pavement of New York’s Chinatown”, on the pavement of Chinatown’s streets. In 2018, based on the history of Chinese immigrants in the United States, Tan Dongfan created a large-scale spatial painting “Song of Mistletoe and Flower” on the street pavement of New York’s Chinatown; in 2023, Tan Dongfan’s solo exhibition “Rivers” at Shanghai’s EcoGallery used the imagery of the Mistletoe River and Shanghai’s harbour as a point of departure to present in his paintings a history of the river of life and emotions, of the river of memories, the river of transformations, and the river of blessings.

This time, the exhibition is titled “Sailing By” based on the historical and human geography of Singapore. This piece of music has a unique significance in the context of maritime trade: every morning at 00.45, BBC Radio 4 would start broadcasting the weather conditions for the night voyage, and the song would flow out over the airwaves. At night, the sea is as quiet as eternity, or as pregnant with treacherous rain. In the cabin, when a piece of music always arrives on schedule, over time, it becomes a sense of security for seafarers in the boring life at sea, and also hints at the loss of time and life, repetition, and overlapping layers.

As part of the ART SG VIP programme, the artist will hold a special live painting session in the gallery space on 16 January from 2-5pm.

The exhibition will run until 3 March 2024.

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