Singapore

Latiff Mohidin, PROVOKE, 1965, oil on board, 38 1⁄2 × 44 1⁄2". From the series “Pago Pago,” 1960–69.


Latiff Mohidin, PROVOKE, 1965, oil on board, 38 1⁄2 × 44 1⁄2". From the series “Pago Pago,” 1960–69.


“Latiff Mohidin: Pago Pago (1960–1969)”

National Gallery Singapore

Latiff Mohidin, PROVOKE, 1965, oil on board, 38 1⁄2 × 44 1⁄2". From the series “Pago Pago,” 1960–69.


Curated by Shabbir Hussain Mustafa and Catherine David with Anisha Menon and Melinda Susanto

NEAR THE EXHIBITION ENTRANCE is a drawing, barely the span of one’s hand, in which two spiky objects conjure up alternate lives as plants or shrines. The composition is split down the middle, with the object on the left done in black on white, and the one on the right in white on black. The drawing seems to have been done in a hurry, ink dashed onto paper. Rushing back to his room after an encounter with several Thai and Khmer artifacts at the Ethnological Museum in Berlin in 1961, Malaysia-born Latiff Mohidin, then a young student, knew he had something. A series of paintings would tumble out of this seminal moment, when the artist learned how to infuse ordinary things with a concrete mysticism. He would name the works by repeating the first two syllables of the German plural Pagoden to

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