Thinking About Abstraction Part I : Curated by Dr. Charles Merewether

18 August - 1 October 2023

"The boundaries of abstraction are limitless and these artists offer material evidence of the potential"


- Dr. Charles Merewether, In the Mind's Eye - Thinking About Abstraction 

39+ Art Space is thrilled to present Part I of a 2-part exhibition, Thinking About Abstraction, the first major group presentation, a total of 17 Singaporean artists, shown in a commercial gallery in Singapore. Part I runs from Friday, 18 August through to Sunday, 1 October 2023. The exhibition is curated by Dr Charles Merewether, former Director of the Biennale of Sydney (2004-2006) and Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore (2010-2013).


"'Thinking about Abstraction', is intended to provoke the viewer to recognize the participation of the mind in thinking about the process of abstraction. This is both for the viewer and the artist. Using their hand and eye, artists work in dialogue with the process of thinking, that is a process that entails the additions, shifts and changes reached over the course of making a work of art.”


The concept of Thinking about Abstraction offers the opportunity for viewers to see the ongoing vitality of abstraction across generations in Singapore. The exhibition is based on research made by the curator while living in Singapore and most recently, over a two-month period this year. As a result, the curator has shaped an exhibition that includes a broad range of Singaporean artists in order to show the quality and shifting focus on forms of abstraction, from painting, work on paper to work with textiles and sculpture. Some of these artists are rightly preeminent, having been honoured with a Singaporean Medallion or exhibited internationally.


Thinking About Abstraction is an exhibition of contemporary Singaporean artists. It has been developed out of a recognition that there continues to be a vibrant and broadly-based tradition of abstraction in Singapore. As a two-part presentation, it represents three generations of Singaporean artists actively practicing today. including some artists who range from the age of 30-70+ years old.


For the first part, we’re proud to be exhibiting 9 artists:

Milenko Prvacki (1951), Ian Woo (1967), Adeline Kueh (1971), Hazel Lim (1975), Jeremy Sharma (1977), Cheong Kah Kit (1976), Wei Leng Tay (1978), Ashley Yeo (1990), Aki Hassan (1995)


There have been very few exhibitions about the tradition of abstraction in Singapore. By showing a full range of abstraction in Singapore, this broad-ranging exhibition will offer the opportunity to appreciate the correspondences and ongoing dialogue with artists from Southeast Asia and Europe.


For further reading of the accompanying exhibition essay,

In The Mind's Eye, Thinking About Abstraction by Dr Charles Merewether: 

Click here