Writing the Modern: Selected Texts on Art & Art History in Singapore, Malaysia & Southeast Asia

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By T.K. Sabapathy

Edited by Ahmad Mashadi, Susie Lingham, Peter Schoppert and Joyce Toh

T.K. Sabapathy has been writing on the art of Southeast Asia for over four decades (1973–2015), as a critic, curator and art historian. This collection of his work, representing the scope and depth of Sabapathy’s output, and highlighting his most important and influential writings, is also a survey of the vast changes in the landscape of art in the region over the period.

A historian and educator, penetrating critic and ardent advocate, Sabapathy’s early scholarly engagements were marked by clear commitments to the art historiography of the Hindu-Buddhist traditions of Southeast Asia. He later emerged as an eloquent proponent of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art. His art historical methods, critical documentation, deep dialogue with artists and detailed explication of their works have helped define Singapore and Malaysian art. His extensive studies of Southeast Asian art and artists have helped set the course of art discourse in the region.

This publication provides an opportunity for more focused (re)reading, review and renewed consideration of T.K. Sabapathy’s rich body of work, to further fuel modern and contemporary art writing, research and exhibition-making.

“Reading this anthology is a revelation, like encountering a Chinua Achebe novel… Writing the Modern is a seminal publication on art practices in the region, articulated through the voice of a formidable scholar and intellectual.” - Peter Yeoh, The Mekong Review

“In the vast firmament of Singaporean-Malaysian art history, no star illuminates as radiantly as T.K. Sabapathy... The breath, depth and range of his scholarship are indeed staggering.” - Carmen Nge, Arts Equator

T.K. Sabapathy is currently an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore, where he teaches the history of art.

Publication Year: 2018
250 x 180 mm | 448 pages
70 colour images, 5 b/w images
Paperback
ISBN: 978-9811-157-63-9

Singapore Art Museum