Interlacing Planes in Space

Tan Teng-Kee (1937-2016) was a leading sculptor in Singapore during the 1970s and 1980s, an influential teacher, an active member of the Modern Art Society, and a pioneer of public art. Born in Batu Pahat, Johor, Malaysia, Tan studied Chinese and Western painting in Hong Kong and metal sculpture and printmaking at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, Germany before moving to Singapore in 1970 to take up a position in the applied sculpture department at the Baharuddin Vocational Institute. Tan introduced a new form of sculpture to Singapore, using metal and industrial materials to construct abstract works, rather than modelling based on the human figure. Using non-traditional materials such as stainless steel and brass, he also incorporated found objects such as wire, cans and pipes. These were combined into forms that expressed dynamic movement in space, informed by the artist’s earlier studies in calligraphy and ink painting, and by his teacher in Düsseldorf, Norbert Kricke. Interlacing Planes in Space demonstrates Tan’s interest in how shapes interact to create a sense of movement and unfolding time in space.