YUSOF GHANI (Malaysian, B. 1950)
YUSOF GHANI (Malaysian, B. 1950)


YUSOF GHANI (Malaysian, B. 1950)
signed and dated 'Yusof Ghani 02' (lower right)
acrylic on canvas
124 x 94 cm. (48 7/8 x 37 in.)
Painted in 2002
Acquired directly from the artist
Private Collection, Malaysia

Brought to you by

Eric Chang
Eric Chang

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Lot Essay

The emergence of modernism in Malaysian art, marked most clearly by a divergence from craftsmanship and a traditional depiction of subjects, is centred mainly around artistic production of the 60s and 70s. Spearheaded by the pioneering generation of artists that turned to abstraction to express their inner thought and feeling, and also as a response to the inability to paint figures in art due to the socio-religious context of the country.

The generation of artists of which are represented in the following lots (Lot 666-673) were notably exposed and influenced by the Western art movements of cubism, abstraction, and expressionism. Many of these artists had the opportunity to study abroad in Europe, as well as America, and their subsequent artistic production would be characterized by an internationalism that would allow their art to transcend national boundaries, and exist in the democratized sphere of abstraction and modernism.

In Untitled (Lot 666), the most significant work from Cheong Lai Tong to appear at international auction, the bold gestural style of the artist is evident in this large work. The 60s mark Cheong's full foray into abstraction after a period of experimentation and transition in the 50s. The present work is striking in its bright, pastel hues combined with darker tones. Cheong's abstract forms meld and flow into one another in a pure exploration of colour and form and their interaction across the canvas surface. On his art, Cheong has said: "I like to be inside a painting. When you walk into a painting, you have the feeling of being with the painting, and vibrating with the painting."

The amorphous colours that dominate the canvasses of Jolly Koh are brought to exquisite effect in Road to Subang II (Lot 667). Koh captivates with an astute knowledge of colour, and distinctive ability to combine both fluid and solid forms of expression within a single plane. Boundaries are blurred with the use of white to delineate space in curved lines that challenge perception, and Koh succeeds in presenting us with a dynamic and seductive melding of colour, shape, and form.

The swirling, moody colours of Ibrahim Hussein suggest the bacon-like distortion of organic form. The two untitled works on paper (Lot 671) are indicative of an intense expression of artistic fervour within the compact space of the paper. Originating from an unseen centre, Hussein's forms expand in explosive emotion - impacting and reacting with the elements surrounding them.

Yusof Ghani's Segerak (Lot 672) from the series of the same name, is a heartfelt homage to the beauty and synchronicity of movement. Ghani's brush evokes passion and freedom of expression with expressive swathes of paint, and the suggestion of energetic motion. Ghani later went on to elaborate different iterations of the Segerak series but in this early exploration of the theme, displays an uninhibited experimentation with form.

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