American Dream, 2001 by Tan Chin Kuan
Tan Chin Kuan is a celebrated senior Malaysian artist who works across all mediums but is particularly noted for his seminal paintings and installations, for which he has won many awards. In both 1989 and 1990 Tan won the Major Award for Young Contemporaries at The National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, going on to be presented with the Minor Award in both the catagories of Painting and Sculpture at the Salon Malaysia 3 at the National Art Gallery Kuala Lumpur in 1991. 2001 saw him win the Bronze Prize at the Osaka Triennale in Japan. Tan has exbihited internationally on numerous occasions including a solo exhibit at the Fukoka Art Museum in Japan, the Osaka Triennale in 1993 and 2001, the Kwang Ju Biennale in Korea in 1995 and in Australia and London, in addition to frequently exhibiting in Malaysia. Tan’s works are found in the collections of the Fukoka Art Museum in Japan, The Osaka Prefectural Government & Osaka Foundation of Culture in Japan, The Singapore Art Museum and the National Art Gallery in Malaysia and The AFK Collection.
Despite the plethora of accolades Tan has received from the beginning of his career his works are extremely rare, and hardly ever come up for sale. ‘American Dream’ was a personal favourite painting of Tan’s, for its depiction of the socio-political state of the world today. That this painting records a deeply personal observation is immediately made clear by the large central horse. As Tan is born in the Chinese Zodiac year of the horse he includes his own self-portrait in several of his most seminal artworks in the guise of a horse. For several years Tan thought ‘American Dream’ was lost or destroyed, and he even recorded it as such. In the early 2000’s he discovered it kept away in a quiet area of his studio and was delighted by the discovery of one of his most important, finely detailed paintings. In a mark of his respect for The AFK Collection he immediately offered this work to the collection, a sign of his own value of ‘American Dream’ as one of the most seminal