Back to Homepage
“A work of art that did not begin in emotions is not art.”
- Paul Cézanne

UOB Art Gallery, Singapore

Amid the hustle and bustle of Singapore’s Central Business District, the gallery provides a creative enclave for you to appreciate artworks from the UOB Art Collection.
UOB Art Gallery: 80 Raffles Place, UOB Plaza 1, Ground Floor, Singapore 048624
Impression +
A Solo Exhibition by Zhang Chunlei
Top Winner of 2020 UOB Painting of the Year (Singapore),
Established Artist Category
From 27 April 2021 to 31 July 2021
UOB Art Gallery, 80 Raffles Place, UOB Plaza 1, Ground Floor

Zhang Chunlei’s paintings are based on impressions, inspired by his memories of wonderful and touching stories that would soon become less distinct with the passage of time. Using a combination of dots, lines, planes and diverse colours, he often integrates abstract and concrete elements, established figures and popular culture icons in his painting, offering different themes to viewers.

The artworks in this exhibition are the culmination of years of ideation, painting and exploration. The first drafts of some of the artworks, such as Fishing Village 渔村, Tales of the Old House 老屋故事, Tales at the Merlion 鱼尾狮旁的故事 and RuYi 如意 were conceptualised at different times, yet the strength of the same idea prevailed, bringing each to a final visualisation in 2021.

Through the depiction of traditional stories and scenes, the artist aims to introduce Chinese culture to today’s audience. Through the use of cartoon icons, he hopes to inject fresh elements that can infuse the work with positive energy and new hopes, particularly in this season as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic – where the brave, stubborn, humorous and optimistic spirit of the cartoon characters, reflects the spirit that never dies but lives after each destructive episode, sharing a delightful message of hope.

The artist’s visual aesthetics are distinctive. In favour of half-hidden expressions instead of the full reveal, Chunlei’s artistic techniques reflect the kind of beauty favoured by the Oriental culture – as this quote from the poem The Pi-pa Player by Bai Juyi from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) sums up: “Only after our repeated calls, did she appear; her face was still half-hidden behind a Chinese pi-pa lute.”

Chunlei believes that visual art works should not be over-analysed that may adversely affect the viewer’s first impression of the work. He believes the beauty of the work lies in the viewer’s infinite imagination and interpretation of it, where different cultural backgrounds will provoke different views.

All artworks except for the winning artwork, Art Stages Pasar 2020, is available for sale.

UOB is the organiser and sponsor of Impression +.
Zhang Chunlei
Zhang Chunlei has been an artist for 25 years and has participated in many international exhibitions, including The Eighth Beijing International Art and Biennale, China 2019; Sea of Tears, Malaysia 2017; and The Contemporary Asian Art Fair, Singapore 2006. He was born in December 1969, in Shanghai, China. He graduated from the School of Arts from Suzhou University with a professional certificate in Interior Design, and came to Singapore in 1996.

Chunlei practices traditional Chinese painting, woodburn painting, watercolour, oil painting, and the engraving and carving of works. His cultural philosophy and artistic aesthetics are strongly influenced by Confucius’ Doctrine of the Mean, which shape his painting style and techniques. A fusion of figurative and abstract art, his work often reflects the melding of dots and lines, and the use of colours to create harmonious compositions.

Chunlei believes that one will know one’s life mission upon reaching the age of fifty - 五十知天命 (Fifty is the age of destiny). “Many conflicts are caused by lack of communication and understanding. The world would not become harmonious unless mutual understanding and tolerance are achieved between countries, races and individuals. This is probably the mission designated for me at fifty, to increase understanding and communication between people through my paintings.”

Email: zcl889900@yahoo.com.sg
WeChat : PeterZ889900
Facebook : zhang.chunlei.9

Art Stages Pasar 2020

Oil on canvas
100 x 180 cm
2020 UOB Painting of the Year
Art Stages Pasar 2020
Oil on canvas
100 x 180 cm
Art Stages Pasar 2020 conveys the importance of standing together as one people, and overcoming difficulties and hardships through solidarity. Pasar (market) represents the hustle and bustle of life in Singapore. The COVID- 19 circuit breaker period brought the energy and buzz of the pasar and of life in general to a halt, evoking a sense of loneliness and isolation. By masterfully composing famous characters, popular culture icons and landmarks from East and West together, the artist hopes to convey how unity can overcome adversity as we work together to restore life to how it was.

Fishing Village 渔村

Chinese ink on paper
70 x 139 cm
SGD8,000
Fishing Village 渔村
Chinese ink on paper
70 x 139 cm
SGD8,000
The artist recalls the cartoon films he watched with his son, which have become inspirational to his work and belief that humanity should embrace the positive energy of the cartoon characters, both during the epidemic and in our ongoing concerns about the environment.

Tales of the Old House 老屋故事

Oil/Acrylic on canvas
100 x 100 cm
SGD7,000
Tales of the Old House 老屋故事
Oil/Acrylic on canvas
100 x 100 cm
SGD7,000
This work captures the memories of the artist’s childhood days, with impressions of the home that he grew up in. Despite how time has progressed, the childhood stories will always remain warm in his memories.

Tales at the Merlion 鱼尾狮旁的故事

Oil/Acrylic on canvas
76 x 76 cm
SGD5,800
Tales at the Merlion 鱼尾狮旁的故事
Oil/Acrylic on canvas
76 x 76 cm
SGD5,800
The draft of this work began in 2009 and was enhanced over time with new layers of elements, leading to its completion in 2021. The iconic cartoon characters portrayed by the artist have been present in our culture, and continues to endure with their sense of optimism, humour and bravery, as well as their indomitable spirit in times of adversity.

Tales of Rivalry 戏说典故

Chinese ink on paper
40 x 100 cm
SGD5,500
Tales of Rivalry 戏说典故
Chinese ink on paper
40 x 100 cm
SGD5,500
This work recounts the story of the Chinese historical classic, Tian Ji’s Horse Race 田忌赛马, depicting the role of strategy in horse racing and competition. Forsaking a traditional portrayal that would have created a visual story that is historical and dense, the work now traverse the genre of the traditional and the modern, evoking new imaginations and dramatic overtures with the addition of cartoon icons.

Fu & Fish 福&鱼

Mixed materials on canvas
60 x 150 cm
SGD7,000
Fu & Fish 福&鱼
Mixed materials on canvas
60 x 150 cm
SGD7,000
Fish is a popular symbol in Chinese culture. The portrayal of the traditional Chinese calligraphic word 福 (fortune) in strokes of silver against the modern depiction of the environment of fishes emphasises the artist’s message that the natural environment is humanity’s greatest treasure. These concerns are a response to the current topic of the nuclear pollution issue in Fukushima, Japan

Romance at the Orchids 1 胡姬花之恋一

Chinese ink on paper
52 x 52 cm
SGD1,500
Romance at the Orchids 1 胡姬花之恋一
Chinese ink on paper
52 x 52 cm
SGD1,500

Romance at the Orchids 2 胡姬花之恋二

Chinese ink on paper
52 x 52 cm
SGD1,500
Romance at the Orchids 2 胡姬花之恋二
Chinese ink on paper
52 x 52 cm
SGD1,500

RuYi 如意

Chinese ink on paper
72 x 97 cm
SGD6,500
RuYi 如意
Chinese ink on paper
72 x 97 cm
SGD6,500
The term 如意 (In accordance to one’s desire) is written here in Chinese calligraphic style in the artist’s signature ‘mosaic’ technique. The addition of the cartoon characters expresses the artist’s view that one’s imagined desires are only possible in cartoon scenarios.

Impressions of Nature 印象山水

Oil/Acrylic on canvas
180 x 180 cm
SGD29,000
Impressions of Nature 印象山水
Oil/Acrylic on canvas
180 x 180 cm
SGD29,000
Through this work, the artist shares the message of humanity’s inheritance of nature, the importance of preserving the delicate balance between environment and development, and the beauty of traditional oriental art.

Impressions of Traditional Art 印象宋画

Oil/Acrylic on canvas
90 x 90 cm
(Sold)
Impressions of Traditional Art 印象宋画
Oil/Acrylic on canvas
90 x 90 cm
(Sold)

Impressions of Traditional Drama 印象戏剧人物

Oil/Acrylic on canvas
180 x 100 cm
SGD16,800
Impressions of Traditional Drama 印象戏剧人物
Oil/Acrylic on canvas
180 x 100 cm
SGD16,800
In this work, the artist hopes to portray the beauty of Chinese traditional opera, in response to how today’s young generation are immersed in popular European and American music and cultures, but are unaware of the beauty and heritage of our traditional culture.

Late Autumn 深 秋

Chinese ink on paper
90 x 98 cm
SGD6,000
Late Autumn 深 秋
Chinese ink on paper
90 x 98 cm<
SGD6,000

Zhuo Zheng Yuan 拙政园

Oil/Acrylic on canvas
60 x 65 cm
(Sold)
Zhuo Zheng Yuan 拙政园
Oil/Acrylic on canvas
60 x 65 cm
(Sold)

Chinatown 牛车水

Chinese ink on paper
68 x 68 cm
(Sold)
Chinatown 牛车水
Chinese ink on paper
68 x 68 cm
(Sold)

Clarke Quay 克拉码头

Oil/Acrylic on canvas
80 x 120 cm
SGD7,000
Clarke Quay 克拉码头
Oil/Acrylic on canvas
80 x 120 cm
SGD7,000

Nonya Cuisine 娘惹菜

Acrylic on canvas
90 x 90 cm
SGD6,000
Nonya Cuisine 娘惹菜
Acrylic on canvas
90 x 90 cm
SGD6,000
The work is created by a colourful palette of imprint using traditional seals, in accordance with the artist’s signature mosaic style. With seal carvings representing Chinese words of popular well-wishes including 福 (blessing), 禄 (wealth), 寿 (longevity), 善 (kindness), 美 (beauty), 心想事成 (wishes for one’s desires to become reality), 万事如意 (a multitude of well-wishes for things to happen as one hopes), and 一帆风顺 (well wishes for the smooth progress of matters), this work is an amalgamation of fortuitous blessings.

Kukup Floating Chalet 龟喀海岸

Oil/Acrylic on canvas
100 x 100 cm
SGD6,800
Kukup Floating Chalet 龟喀海岸
Oil/Acrylic on canvas
100 x 100 cm
SGD6,800

Boat Quay 驳船码头

Chinese ink on paper
68 x 68 cm
SGD4,500
Boat Quay 驳船码头
Chinese ink on paper
68 x 68 cm
SGD4,500

Semporna 仙本那

Chinese ink on paper
79 x 139 cm
SGD8,000
Semporna 仙本那
Chinese ink on paper
79 x 139 cm
SGD8,000