Lot 78 | 20 February 2022




LOT 78


B. Perak, 1929

Human Rot, 1969

Signed and dated on lower right
Gallery label from Valentine Willie on verso
Exhibited in the National Art Gallery in 1996 and illustrated in the Retrospective exhibition book on page 53 and 136.

Oil on canvas

100 x 100 cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur

RM 120,000 – 220,000

The Human Rot is certainly one of the most interesting paintings that have ever been made by Yeoh Jin Leng. It was during his visit to London in 1965 when, while walking around Charing Cross, he stumbled upon a book about the devaluation of ethics and morality. The book piqued his fascination with the concept and, inspired by what he read, he went on to paint The Human Rot. It was completed in 1968.

A year later, in 1969, the 13th May incident occurred. “I was surprised that it happened. This region has been contaminated by Western capitalism and materialism, and we adopted capitalism because we thought it would bring progress. Instead, it brought about materialism. The social-political upheaval and a greed for power and money were the catalysts that started the riots. The value of ethics has become rotten in many sense of the word,” Jin Leng said.