Stuggart Museum, 2006 by Chin Kong Yee

Chin Kong Yee graduated from The Central Academy of Art in 1990, and has gone on to have a career as one of Malaysia’s most exciting landscape artists. His vivid paintings of natural and man-made ‘scapes, which are the result of in-depth personal research and compositing several self-taken photographs into a single composition, have garnered him a strong following in the Malaysian art scene with invitations to exhibit locally as well as internationally in France, Indonesia, Romania, Karachi, Seoul, Beijing, Taiwan and Singapore. Kong Yee’s works can be found in several notable art collections including Cluj-Napoca Art Museum Romania, National Art Gallery Malaysia, Accenture Solutions, Wong & Partners, United Overseas Bank, Anika Insurance Brokers, Shearn Delamore & Co, Gleneagles Intan Medical Centre, HSBC Bank and The AFK Collection.

In 2006 Kong Yee visited the city of Stuttgart in Germany for the first time. As is his habit in any new environment one of his first visits was to the city’s museum, where he sought to learn more about the local culture and society. While there he was struck by the view overlooking the city centre and town hall from inside the museum. The museum was constructed in hyper modern materials, and as he gazed through the glass windows at the old town hall he realised that the architecture he was experiencing was a visual record of Stuttgart’s past, present and desired future. Kong Yee’s strong ability in colour as an atmospheric tool emerges in this work through the vivid contrast of the blue to represent the museum and reds and browns for the view and town hall. Creating the distinctions in tone while overlapping colours is tricky and demonstrates Kong Yee’s deft ability in colour theory and application.

That Kong Yee is depicting his observations on Stuttgart is immediately made clear by the fish-eye composition that is his signature, and makes his landscape paintings immediately recognisable as ‘a Kong Yee painting’. This notion of the personal observation is cemented through a partial self-portrait in this work, reminding viewers that Kong Yee was standing right there to look at and analyse this particular view. In discussing his decision to paint himself into the work Kong Yee commented “When a painting is a viewpoint of the artist? When an artist is included in the painting then who is the viewer really- the artist or the audience?” The inclusion of this self-portrait is incredibly rare and has not been repeated often either before or after ‘Stuttgart Museum’, marking this painting as an extremely covetable piece from one of Malaysia’s most exciting contemporary landscape painters.