KHOO SUI HOE
B. Kedah, 1939
Two at the Top, 1982
Signed “Sui Hoe” on lower right
Artist, title, date, medium and dimensions inscribed on the reverse
Oil on canvas
76 x 88 cm
Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur
IIllustrated in Christie’s Hong Kong (23 November 2014) Asian 20th Century Art (Day Sale) (Sale 3359) catalogue – Lot 369
Straightforward and succinct, mysterious and dream-like are telltale signs that this most definitely is a Khoo Sui Hoe. Simplicity at its best, Khoo Sui Hoe focuses on Primitivism here, opting for only a limited palette. Two figures of women are gazing back at the viewer with an unfathomable yet impartial expression, and it gives off the impression of a cross between royalty and a sentry, gaze unwavering from all directions. Their lips are ruby red and pronounced, making this piece evoke elegance. Khoo Sui Hoe works have the ability to transcend the unconscious as seen in this piece, and despite it being primitive, it is also fresh and modern at the same time, topped with an air of surrealism.
Born in 1939 in Baling, Kedah, he studied at Singapore’s prestigious Nanyang Academy of Art and then at the Pratt Graphic Center in the US. He was one of the earliest and courageous people who took the plunge of becoming a full-time artist. Through his Alpha Singapore Gallery and Alpha Utara Gallery in Penang , he has helped promote other artists. Khoo Sui Hoe has also won a lot of awards, among which are the First Prize for the 1965 Malaysian art competition, an Honourable Mention in Salon Malaysia 1969 and the Asian Arts Now Awards (twice) given by the Las Vegas Museum.