Ng Eng Teng

Nationality: Singaporean.

Year: 1994.

Medium: Stoneware, coloured clay inlay.

Size: 59 x 57 x 19cm.

Scholars Programme

Acrobat, 1994 (Fig.10) is quite extraordinary in the way it records, like a camera-still, a stage in the transformation of clay into fluid, human form. It suggests the slow process by which an artist, like Pygmalian, breathes life into inert matter. The final shape has yet to emerge, giving the viewer room for all sorts of conjecture. Arch-shaped, it starts off as a cylindrical column (the hair?) which slowly transforms itself into a female figure bent backwards gracefully. Or is it the other way round, the figure beginning to dissolve and melt into a lump of clay? Though there is a strong suggestion of movement, it has more to do with symbolising creative energy than with anything actually physical. The sophistication of the form is masked by its simplicity. In spite of its contemporary Rodinesque appeal, it is strangely archaic in its uncanny reminiscence of the images of bull-leaping acrobats in Minoan bronze-age frescoes.

--Bodies Transformed ch. 2


Constance Sheares. Bodies Transformed: Ng Eng Teng in the Nineties. Singapore: NUS Museums/ National University of Singapore, 1999.

This document is part of a joint project of the NUS Museums and the University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore. This image and accompanying text appears here with the kind permission of the NUS Museums.

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Last updated: 11 January 2001