january, 2019

17jan - 17aprjan 173:00 pmapr 17Ink Mountain - Mark Chan's Cosmic Universe in Ink on Distressed Paper(january 17) 3:00 pm - (april 17) 6:00 pm 1 Esplanade Drive Singapore 038981

Event Details

Renaissance Man, Composer Mark Chan Unveils His Painting Exhibition

his cosmic universe in ink on distressed paper

The Esplanade, Jendela Visual Arts Space
17 January to 17 April 2019
Launch 17 January 2019, 3pm
Singapore, December 4, 2018 – Mark Chan kicks off Singapore Art Week with one of the more unique and unexpected shows as he shares the landscapes of his imagination in an exhibition of paintings and calligraphy in Chinese brush and ink on distressed paper. With his peculiar brush strokes, his musical soul and powerful imagination, Chan brings traditional ink and paper on a modern roller coaster ride, taking the viewer with him.

Ink Mountain 墨山,the exhibition, is an Esplanade commission, and held in conjunction with the Singapore Bicentennial Commemoration. It is part of the Esplanade’s Visual Arts “Bridging Realms” presentation for its first quarter of 2019.

The reclusive Chan will unveil 50 pieces of his work; this is only the second time he has ever exhibited. The first was 28 years ago with the release of his breakout album China Blue in 1991 when the late Kuo Pau Kun invited him to show his paintings at the Substation, as part of a series of concerts in the Guinness Theatre.
Too focused on his many music productions and shows in the years since, the time has arrived once again for Chan’s paintings to be revealed.

Professor Tommy Koh, Founding Chairman of National Arts Council describes Chan as, “a very talented Singaporean: composer, arranger, flautist, singer and actor. I look forward to seeing his ink paintings at Jendela. What a talented man!”.

With his ‘fiercely beautiful’ style, typified by bold, emotional, calligraphic strokes combined with personal, idiosyncratic techniques that break out of the strictures of traditional ink painting, Chan has fashioned a world and language of his own. It is a world inhabited by a rich mythology: creatures and spirits and a modern blend of abstractions that glyph, glide and splatter suddenly into recognisable forms and figures.

There is a strong sense in Chan’s work of being connected to primitive roots, to ancient mythology and an undeniable sense of South-East Asian style in his filled and heavily populated canvas of spirits and lines. Naturally a deep connection to China, Japan and the rest of North Asia prevails, due to the calligraphic roots and materials used – but it is fused into a personal style that defies compartmentalisation, geography or what is fashionable in art now. Chan sees himself as not just a modern man but a direct descendant of, “the peoples that plied the seas and established their brilliant kingdoms in this region: Sri Vijaya, Majapahit, Palembang, Annam, Champa, Angkor, the Bugis, the Chinese, the Indians, the Persians, the Arabs before the advent of the European colonists”.

Chan is collaborating with Brian Gothong Tan who is designing the exhibition and creating video based on Chan’s paintings. Together they will transform the Jendela into a Sanctuary. With his modern eye and the tools of his own digital art Tan adds succint, powerful animation to Ink Mountain. He hopes to reveal other layers and views of the paintings that the traditional exhibition format of “paintings hung” may not show. Tan feels the “fierce beauty” of Chan’s works compels him to respond in ways that challenge and deepen his own practice.


all images copyright:
Mark Chan

The exhibition invites visitors to walk through, walk inside Chan’s landscapes of his imagination. Displayed in series the works, powerful in themselves, take on an emotional and spiritual narrative that will live in the memory. Both artists want the visitor to leave “changed, moved”.

Mark confesses, “I’ve had my shows performed in every venue in the Esplanade: “Little Toys – 小玩意” in the Theatre, “The Flight of the Jade Bird” in the Concert Hall, several performances in the Recital Studio. It’s an honour and a dream come true for me to hold Ink Mountain in the Jendela! I feel like I am completing my journey as a total artist, and giving my painting the attention it deserves.”

The exhibition is on from 17 January to 17 April 2019 during which time, other programmes and meet the artist sessions will feature.

the first in the series:
Saturday, 3pm, 26 January 2019 (in the Exhibition space)
“Ink Mountain” Book Launch with Landmark Books
Artists Talk / Meet the Artists
Q&A Session
A walk through the Exhibition with the Artists

There will also be a musical performance inside the exhibition space featuring Sunny Wong (erhu), Leslie Tan (cello), Reggie Perera (digeridoo) and Chan (during the Huayi festival season at the Esplanade).
If you would like more information on the exhibition or to schedule an interview with Mark Chan please contact Dr. Rose Sivam: 97931821 [email protected]

About Mark Chan

Mark Chan is a composer, lyricist, librettist, poet, painter, singer, song-writer, multi- instrumentalist and author. Prior to his full-time pursuit of music and the arts, Chan was a distinguished national swimmer, competing and winning awards in national, regional and international sporting events.
As an artist, Chan’s practice transcends boundaries that spans genres, crosses art forms, combines worldly and spiritual influences, east and west, old and new.
Whether in pop or music-centred theatre projects, Chan’s work is inherently infused with deep spirituality and an intuitive understanding of diverse musical cultures.
Seeking to discover the elements that unite rather than divide the world we live in, Chan’s unifying sensibility creates work that are seamless, original, powerful and popular.
At every step of his career, Mark has been a pioneer. He was part of Singapore’s early years in the pop recording industry (70-90s). His albums Face to Face (WEA 1985) and Book of Dreams (Polygram 1987) marked Chan out as a full-fledged singer- songwriter. Along with Dick Lee and Chris Ho, Chan blazed new territory with a confidence and originality that was largely absent in Singapore’s entertainment scene.
In 1990 his breakthrough album China Blue burst on the scene. It unexpectedly combined Asian and Western instruments, pop and traditional motifs and styles, English, Mandarin and Malay lyrics, alongside purely instrumental tracks. His success in fusing a seamless kaleidoscopic and hugely popular album led him to being picked up first by BMG and then by Hori Pro records (Japan). Chan’s own brand of pop music rooted in Singapore’s multiculturalism honed through six albums gave Singapore a unique pop sound and music identity that remains unrivalled today.

Chan is also a pioneer in crossing over from being a recording artist to being a composer and music director for theatre works. His unique gift for words, understanding of dramatic pulse, and his undying search for meaning in his art resulted in stunning music, unforgettable songs and breathtakingly new landscapes of sound and music for seminal theatre works from 80s to the 90s. This included Lao Jiu – Kuo Pau Kun & Ong Keng Sen, Lear Ong Keng Sen & Japan Foundation, Private Parts Michael Chiang & Theatreworks, The Day I Met the Prince Kuo Pau Kun & Practise Performing Arts, Medea William Teo, Ozone Arifin Noer, Three Children. Krishen Jit, M Butterfly Ivan Heng SRT and many more. During this period, he was also Composer in Residence at Theatreworks for a decade.

From 2000, Chan took a new direction writing orchestral music Email & Eternity for the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, before embarking on a series festival commissions, in which he conceptualised, wrote, and performed, in some his most intense compositional works to date. These were full-scale productions that involved working with some of the top classical and traditional instrumentalists available in the region. These projects saw Chan at his most mature, composing for mixed ensembles of traditional/classical music for film and theatre projects.

Chan is the first Composer in the world to make a full-scale scoring of a B&W Chinese Silent Film ( 小玩意,Little Toys – 1933, premiere: 2003 Hong Kong Arts Festival, Singapore Arts Festival), the first Singapore composer to write and stage a chamber opera Opiume (2004), and the tone-poem Flight of the Jade Bird (2012), all co- commissioned and staged by major festivals in Singapore and Hong Kong. He also collaborated with Arts Fission Dance Company to create and direct Dreaming of Kuanyin Meeting Madonna at the Singapore Arts Festival 2007. His Opera “The Flight of the Jade Bird” opened the 2012 Singapore Arts Festival.
Returning to Singapore in 2015 after 14 intermittent years away, Chan continues to engage, explore and extend his work. He recently released his 7th solo album Blue Guitar, and is currently working on his novel to be published in 2018.
Chan received the COMPASS Artistic Excellence Award in 2016 for his outstanding achievements in music. He was nominated for the Cultural Medallion award 2018 in the Music Category. He also scored the music for soon to be released Painting Life, by renowned Indian film maker, Bijukumar Damodaran.

About Brian Gothong Tan

Brian Gothong Tan is a film, theatre and installation artist. His works have been featured in numerous productions which have toured successfully in many countries like Italy, USA, Korea and the United Kingdom. He has won the “Best Use of Multimedia” for the Life! Theatre Awards, in 2005, 2008, 2012 and 2016.
His feature debut, Invisible Children (2008), was invited to Berlin and Tokyo amongst other established International festivals.
Blessed with a cinematic eye, he has lensed Pleasure Factory (2007), screened in the Official Selection of Cannes Film Festival and finds himself a frequent collaborator of Eric Khoo, most notably for the features In the Room (2015) and 7 Letters (2015).
Brian was also appointed the Director of Film and Visual Effects for Singapore’s National Day Parade 2009, 2011 and 2016, as well as the world’s first Youth Olympic Games Opening and Closing ceremonies in 2010. He was conferred the Young Artist Award in 2012, and more recently, the Singapore Youth Award in 2015.

Ticket Price: free


January 17 (Thursday) 3:00 pm - April 17 (Wednesday) 6:00 pm


Esplanade Jendela (Visual Arts Space)

1 Esplanade Drive Singapore 038981

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