On Lim Tze Peng

Written by Wan Jie Che | Posted 17 Jul 2018

Born in 1921, and one of Singapore’s most prominent artist, the self-taught artist dedicated his entire life to brushwork, pursuing it with great fervour after he retired. Lim’s prolific career began with his paintings of Singapore scenes of which he was first most known for. With his careful rendering and exquisite brushstrokes, Lim captured the idiosyncrasies of these heritage areas as Singapore underwent major redevelopments. Not one to stagnate, he continuously pushed his boundaries by experimenting to produce a body of works that revolutionised Chinese Calligraphy with his signature “hutuzi”, also known as art calligraphy which is marked by a confluence of brushstrokes that weave in and out and into abstraction.

The following are some memorable quotes by Lim Tze Peng as well as distinguished academics on his art.

“Life is transient, but art is eternal.” – Lim Tze Peng

“The meaning no longer matters; all that matters is how has ink and brush been applied.” – Lim Tze Peng

"Tze Peng's renderings, even while the monochromatic hues represent his practice at his most modern and visually agile state." - Bridget Tracy Tan

“While Lim Tze Peng’s regular calligraphy pieces are “decipherable”, the wildly cursive hutuzi is not meant to be read and became an integral part of his ink practice in a period where painting and calligraphy merged ever closer – there was calligraphy in painting and painting in calligraphy. These calligraphy pieces would be better appreciated as abstract paintings instead of writing.” – Teo Han Wue

"Ink is not merely a medium or tool for Mr Lim: the brush-line forms the substance of his art of his later period, with calligraphic lines the basis of his imagery, and then, imagery as the basis of his composition and application of calligraphic lines." - Chang Yueh Siang

"... Wide ranging tonality and adept brushwork combine to infuse the painting with depth and power. The atmosphere is vibrant; the sense of volume is tremendous. The colour scheme is restrained and yet the painting is colourful. Its sense of completeness is unmistakable." - Choy Weng Yang

“His artworks reflect his learnings in his journey of the ‘modern’. However,  he did not stop at the ‘modern’. In his art-calligraphy he demonstrated he has  very much understood the thoughts of the Postmodernists and how art inquiry has moved on, globally.” – Dr. Woo Fook Wah