Born in 1974 in Singapore, Max Kong graduated
from RMIT University, Australia with a degree in Fine Arts and a Masters of
Fine Arts degree from LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. Highly acclaimed
for his process and innovation, he is a recipient of many awards including the Platinum Award of the 28th UOB Painting of the
Year Competition and Certificate of Distinction from Philippe Charriol Foundation. Max's works have been featured in international
art fairs in Singapore, Korea and Japan and are part of prominent private and public collections including the
Singapore Art Museum and K.K. Women and Children's Hospital. Over the last 15 years, the artist has
exhibited his works extensively in Singapore, Korea, Japan, Thailand, China and
Born in 1974, Singapore, Max Kong graduated from RMIT University, Australia with a degree in Fine Arts and a Masters of Fine Arts degree from LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. Highly acclaimed for his process and innovation, he is a recipient of many awards including the Platinum Award of the 28th UOB Painting of the Year Competition and Certificate of Distinction from Philippe Charriol Foundation. Max's work has been featured in international art fairs in Singapore, Korea and Japan and are part of prominent private and public collections including the Singapore Art Museum and K.K. Women and Children's Hospital. Over the last 15 years, the artist has exhibited his works extensively in Singapore, Korea, Japan, Thailand, China and New York and has been featured on prominent news media such as Channel News Asia and Newsweek magazine.
Inspired by the process of “How to Paint” instead of “What to Paint,” Max’s abstract painting investigates the notion of speed in relation to his customization of tools and mediums. He challenges the paradigm of conventional painting by exploring alternative methodologies and materials through metaphysical involvements in painting. In addition, aside from the elements of chance and its aesthetics, Max constructs surfaces that constitute the process as painting.
Max Kong paints directly on the canvas and regards it as an interactive process rather than a straightforward, structured approach. He starts at will and lets his subconscious take over, enjoying the aesthetic value of accidental effects which cannot be achieved by careful planning. It is in this unsophisticated and honest expression that the viewer's heart is enthralled - the art lives and speaks for itself. "The process of my painting is based on dripping fluid paint onto the canvas, mainly inspired by raindrops flowing downward on a window panel. Fascinated with the flow of liquid, I explore the process of dripping fluid paint onto the canvas. The courses of running lines were taken over by the forces of nature immediately. A line is created by gravity in an instant. I occasionally steer the canvas to maintain the course when necessary. The fortuitous courses of running lines are the only obvious traces left after the completion of a painting. My lines are created by a combination of chance and manipulation. The colours are based on my actual visual experience with a touch of subjective imagination." - Kong on the concept of Collective Lines Series Paintings (2004)
2010 Singapore Finalist, THE 2010 Sovereign Asian Art Prize
2009 Platinum Award – Open Section, The 28th UOB Painting of the Year Competition 2009
2007 Highly Commended – Open Section, The 26th UOB Painting of the Year Competition 2007
2006 LASALLE-SIA Scholarship – For MA Studies, LASALLE-SIA College of Arts, Singapore
2005 Highly Commended – Open Section, The 24th UOB Painting of the Year Competition 2005
2004 Certificate of Distinction – Open Section, The 23 UOB Painting of the Year Competition 2004
2003 Honorable Mention, Phillip Morries Singapore -ASEAN Art Awards 2003
2002 National Art Council Arts Bursary Award (Local)
1998 2nd Prize in Open Category-Red Ribbon Awards ART AGAINST AIDS Competition/Exhibition, Certificate of Merit ARTQUEST Nation-wide Art Competition
1997 Certificate of Participation, Study Tour to Edinburgh, Art Exhibition Certificate of Participation, 19th Shell Discovery Art NAFA Merit Award - Excellent Academic Performance
1996 Kampong Glam Diploma Art Scholarship Award National Art Council Arts Bursary Award NAFA Merit Award - Excellent Academic Performance, Certificate of Distinction Philippe Charriol Foundation Certificate of Merit, The Della Butcher Award
1995 NAFA Bursary Award
2012 Notion of Light, Gallery Shimada, Kobe, Japan
2011 Circle of Light, +case Gallery, Tokyo, Japan 35° of Light, Art-2 Gallery, Singapore Rising Sun, Gallery Edel, Takarazuka, Japan
2010 Max Kong Solo Exhibition at Gallery Edel, Gallery Edel, Takarazuka, Japan
2009 One Day Forest, Tanglin Camp, Singapore A Solo Exhibition by Max Kong, Galerie Dauphin, Singapore Max Kong Solo Exhibition, Ishida Teisensha Hall, Kyoto, Japan
2006 Max Kong Solo Exhibition, Ode to Art Gallery, Singapore Enigmatic Inspired Paintings, Studio Miu Window Gallery, Singapore
2005 Max Kong Solo Exhibition, Sentosa Artist Village Gallery, Singapore
The Art of Max Kong - Dr. Sian E. Jay, Art Critic
Max is one of Singapore's fastest emerging artists, his work popping up in the most unexpected places - probably because his work 'speaks' to so many people on so many levels. Ironically Max is not altogether interested in the finished product, working instead from the premise that it is of greater relevance to focus on "How to Paint" instead of "What to Paint". And the painting technique is indeed unusual.
Using a series of customized tools and painting media, Max embarks on the creation of abstract imagery that is quickly and almost subconsciously executed. It is his fascination with his process that has led to him embarking on his ongoing exploration of "how to paint" using process-oriented tools.
In many ways it could be argued that the methodology employed by the artist, is induced by the fast-paced society in which he lives - it reflects the way he responds to the world around him. His works are purely spontaneous, unplanned. They are the outcome of dragging and overlapping paint media across a surface using one of his customized tools. The resulting canvas invariably leaves the 'scars' of the process as evidence of 'how' it was painted. The results are remarkably open, leaving the viewer to deconstruct and decode the artist's method.
Working as a full time artist, spending weeks on end in his studio, Max finds that the continuous process of painting influences and informs the way he works - series after series of imagery emerges, always different, always evolving. His process of working challenges the paradigms of conventional painting through his exploration of alternative methodologies and materials. The process inevitably introduces elements of chance as the surfaces that become the paintings emerge.
One of his favorite media is cement; he took his inspiration from the cement screeds used on the walls of architecture. What is so startling about the cement paintings is the way they convey a sense of movement and fluidity, and have continued to inspire the artist. When working with cement, Max confesses that the material dominates the process through the creation of rhythm and spontaneity as he applies cement to the surface of the canvas. It is the material and process that define the final aesthetics.
If the form and outline of the painting is the result of unconscious process, the finish is very much one of conscious control. He applies hundreds of white dots to the surface as a rational, almost mathematical process. Placed in ordered, regular intervals across the surface of the image, the final painting emerges, the artist creates regularity and order to an otherwise chaotic process.