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Resources > Collections > Artwork The Bridge

Year of execution:  1978
Year of acquisition:  2006
Medium:   Oil on canvas
Dimension:  76 x 102  cm
Acquired in 2006

Poh Siew Wah is an abstract expressionist artist known for his unique depictions of Southeast Asian sites in watercolour and oil paint. Throughout his artistic career, he has been influenced by modern Western art, such as the work of Cubist painters like Braque and Picasso. He is also an admirer of the Spanish painter Antoni Tapies.

The Bridge is Poh's early work that shows strong graphic and Cubism-style rendering. Cubist artists believed that a three-dimensional world could be broken into a series of flat planes and geometric chunks. According to them, using monochromatic hues creates a unity of form, even if the subject appears disjointed. The bridge in the artwork is the Coleman Bridge in Singapore, a famous site at the Singapore River known to be a common subject for artists in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In this landscape, the bridge is between the irregular Asian shophouses in the distance and a sampan vessel in the foreground. Surprisingly, the boat pilot in white creates a stunning contrast that grounds the scene in reality, not just a visual of imagination.


Poh Siew Wah 布少华