+ More Information
Light Within Ink is acclaimed Singaporean photographer and Cultural Medallion recipient Chua Soo Bin’s first solo show after more than a decade. The exhibition presents more than 50 portraits shot by Soo Bin of the late Wu Guanzhong, widely known as the founder of modern Chinese painting.
The comprehensive body of work documents the creative life of Wu and intimate moments from his trip to Singapore in the 1980s, his solo show at the British Museum, and his days spent living and painting in Indonesia and Thailand. Unfurling alongside is a story of deep friendship and mutual admiration between two venerated contemporary artists—one painting with ink and oil, the other with light. Practice Theory was commissioned to develop the exhibition identity, graphics, and publication for the show.
The visual identity was informed by the understanding that these images were never meant to be documented as a body of work. For a long time, they were kept as a private collection of unadulterated ‘shared moments’. The intimate and near-serendipitous nature of Soo Bin’s images brings to mind Roland Barthes’ concept of the punctum in photography, or ‘that personally touching detail’. We expressed this idea through a gridded composition that became the visual language of the identity system. Filling the grids, each image is presented alongside two idiosyncratic close crops of the original image, suggesting the different levels of readings the images could have depending on one’s closeness with the artists. The colour scheme reflects the three primary colours frequently used in Wu’s paintings, subtly allowing the late artist have a voice in the exhibition.
View the accompanying catalogue here.