Tang Da Wu 唐大霧 (b. 1943)

Tang Da Wu 唐大霧 was born in 1943 in Singapore, the eldest of four sons in the family. He received a BA in sculpture from the School of Fine Art, Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham Institute of Art and Design) in 1974 and pursued advanced studies in sculpture at Saint Martins School of Art (now Central Saint Martins) from 1974–75. In 1985, he received an MFA from Goldsmith’s College, University of London. After returning to Singapore in 1979, Tang began to work in performance art, and in 1988, cofounded the Artists Village, a collective committed to promoting experimental art through the provision of studio and exhibition space. Working through a de facto ban on performance that began in 1994 as a response to artist Josef Ng trimming his pubic hair at a public festival, the organization supports community interaction through social relevance and the hosting of public site-specific interventions. Through performance, installation, painting, and drawing, Tang explores social and environmental themes including deforestation, animal endangerment, and urban transformation.

Tang was the founder of Singapore’s seminal The Artists Village and is a prominent Southeast Asian performance artist; he is amongst the most distinguished figures of contemporary art in Singapore. Contemplating his own identity as a Chinese Singaporean, Tang uses a broad array of media with local references and iconography to engage in his performance art. Tang’s works have been performed and shown in countries such as England, Japan, Germany, Australia, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, making him acknowledged as the most representative contemporary artist in Southeast Asia today.

Tang is recognised for his works in sculpture, installation and performance art, his paintings narrate countenances with a spatial sense of ambiguity; demonstrating that Chinese ink painting is more than an archaic medium confined to still-life and landscape. Present in Tang’s ink paintings is a persistent exploration of motion and energy, poignantly and dynamically achieved through transcendence with the mediums of ink, water and paper. The ink in his works bleeds into one another, their varying hues forming intense monochromatic silhouettes that depict a partial and allusive picture of a feeling that the viewer is invited to respond with.

Tang was the recipient of the Visual Arts Award from the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1978, as well as the Artist Award from the Greater London Arts Council in 1983. In 1999, he was awarded the 10th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in Arts and Culture.

He has had solo exhibitions at ACME Gallery, London (1978), National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore (1980), Your Mother Gallery, Singapore (2005), Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur (2006), and Goodman Arts Centre, Singapore (2011). Important performances include Five Days at NAFA and Five Days in Museum, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and National Museum, Singapore (1982), They Poach the Rhino, Chop Off His Horn and Make This Drink, National Museum Art Gallery, National University of Singapore, and Singapore Zoo (1989), and Don’t Give Money to the Arts, Singapore Art exhibition and fair (1995). He was a leading organizer of and participant in the Artists Village’s Dancing by the Ponds and Sunrise at the Vegetable Farm, The Time Show—24 Hours Continuous Performance (1989–90). The group and its activities were celebrated in the retrospective The Artists Village: 20 Years On at the Singapore Art Museum (2008).

Tang has participated in group exhibitions including the Asian Art Show, Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan (1989), Art in Asia: Traditions/Tensions, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth (1998), Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial (1999), and Singapore Biennial (2006). He was featured in the Singapore Pavilion at the 52nd edition of the Venice Biennale in 2007. More recently in 2014, Tang’s sculpture was presented at the Guggenheim UBS Map Global Art Initiative, curated by Singaporean curator June Yap and exhibited at NTU Centre for Contemporary Arts in Gillman Barracks, Singapore. The work “Our Children, 2012” was acquired by the Guggenheim Museum, New York. Tang currently lives and works between Singapore and London.

Selected Exhibitions and Performances

  • 1970 : Drawings and Paintings, Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Singapore
  • 1972 : Touch Space, Midland Art 72, Dudley Museum, England
  • 1978 : Marks – Black Powder Falling Through Muslin, ACME Gallery, England
  • 1980 : Earthworks, National Museum Art Gallery and Sin Chew Jit Poh Exhibition Centre, Singapore
  • 1982 : Five Days at NAFA; Five Days in Museum, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and National Museum, Singapore
  • 1983 : Flying Marks, ALTERNATIVA III Festival of Performance, Portugal
  • 1983 : In Between; Change, 4th Performance Platform, England
  • 1984 : The 1984 Show, Brixton Art Gallery, England
  • 1984 : Every Other Move, Oporto, Portugal
  • 1985 : The Support, Woodland Gallery, England
  • 1985 : Steaming Laundry, Brixton Art Gallery, England
  • 1986 : No Fancy Brushes; New Life, Royal Festival Hall, England
  • 1986 : In The End, My Mother Decided to Eat Dogfood and Catfood, Orchard Road Weekend Art Fair, Singapore
  • 1987 : Four Days at the National Museum Art Gallery, National Museum, Singapore
  • 1988 : In Case of Howard Lui; Incident in a City, Singapore Festival of the Arts Fringe, Singapore
  • 1989 : The Artists Village Show Home Documentation, Art Base Gallery, Singapore
  • 1989 : Gooseman; Open the Gate; Dancing UV; Selling Handicaps; In the End, My Mother Decided to Eat Dogfood and Catfood, The Artists’ Village 2nd Open Studio Show, Singapore
  • 1989 : They Poach the Rhino, Chop Off His Horn and Make this Drink, National Museum Art Gallery, National University of Singapore, Singapore Zoo, Singapore
  • 1989 : The Third Asian Art Show, Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan
  • 1989 – 1990 : Dancing by the Ponds;  Sunrise at the Vegetable Farm; The Time Show – 24 Hours Continuous Performance Show, The Artists’ Village, Singapore
  • 1990 : The Death of the Philipino Maid, Stop That Tank One Year Anniversary of June 4th,  Noah’s Ark for Plants, Serious Conversations, Festival of the Arts Fringe, Singapore
  • 1990 : T or P? That is the Question, Empress Place Museum, Singapore
  • 1990 – 1999 : North-East Monsoon – A Water Game, Singapore and Others
  • 1991 : Tiger’s Whip, National Museum and Chinatown, Singapore; and Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan
  • 1991 : Four Persons in One Suit, in the Streets of Singapore, A Sculpture Seminar, National Museum, Singapore
  • 1991 : The Ark for Plants, The Substation, Singapore
  • 1991 : Chinese Restaurant II; World’s Number One Pet Shop; Just in Case, National Sculpture Exhibition, National Museum, Singapore
  • 1991 : Switch Off the Lights, Please, The Substation, Singapore
  • 1991 : They Poach the Rhino, Chop Off His Horn and Make This Drink; In the End, My Mother Decided to Eat Dogfood and Catfood; and Tigers Whip, Asian Artist Today – Fukuoka Annual V: Tang Da Wu Exhibition, Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan
  • 1992 : Under The Table All Going One Direction, New Art From Southeast Asia 1992, Tokyo Metropolitan Artspace / Fukuoka Art Museum/ Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art/ Kirin Plaza Osaka, Japan
  • 1993 : And He Returns Home When You Least Expected, 2nd ASEAN Workshop, Exhibition and Symposium on Aesthetics, Philippines
  • 1994 : Sorry Whale I Didn’t Know That You Were In My Camera, Creativity in Asian Art Now, Part 3 Asian Installation Work, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan
  • 1994 : Contemporary Shopping, Faret Tachikawa, Japan
  • 1994 – 1995 : Tapioca Friendship Project, Osaka International Peace Centre, Japan and Singapore
  • 1994 : Colours Don’t Help, Artists Against AIDS, Singapore
  • 1995 : Meeting with the Real Chiang Maian, 3rd Chiang Mai Social Installation, Thailand
  • 1995 : I was Born Japanese, Mokosongo, Indonesia
  • 1995 : Don’t Buy Present for Your Mother on Mother’s Day, The Substation, Singapore
  • 1995 : Don’t Give Money To The Arts, Asian International Art Exhibition, National Museum Art Gallery and Singapore Art ’95, Suntec City, Singapore
  • 1996 : One Hand Prayer Project, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan
  • 1996 : Life in a Tin; Rubber Road No U-Turn, Malaysia, Singapore and others
  • 1998 : Contemporary Art in Asia: Traditions/Tensions, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Australia
  • 1999 : Don’t Worry Ancestors, Singapore
  • 1999 : Life in a Tin, The First Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan
  • 2000 : Tapioca Friendship, Kwanju Biennale, Korea
  • 2004 : Satsuma Brilliance, Kirishima Open Air Museum, Japan
  • 2004 : Interakcje, Trybunalski, Poland
  • 2005 : Art Brickfest, Wheelock Place, Singapore
  • 2005 : Situation: Collaborations, collectives and artist networks from Sydney, Singapore and Berlin, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, New South Wales
  • 2006 : Tang Da Wu – Heroes, Islanders, Valentine Willie Fine Art, Singapore
  • 2006 : Indonesian International Performance Art Event, Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta
  • 2006 : Jantung Pisang – Heart of a Tree, Heart of a People, Jendela Visual Arts Space at The Esplanade, Singapore
  • 2007 : Untitled, Singapore Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition, Italy
  • 2010 : Singapore Survey 2010: Beyond LKY, Valentine Willie Fine Art, Singapore
  • 2012 : The Artists Congresses: A Congress, dOCUMENTA 13, Germany
  • 2012 : Intersecting Histories – Contemporary Turns in Southeast Asian Art, ADM Gallery, Singapore
  • 2012 : Detour – Visual Art Staff Show, NIE Art Gallery, Singapore
  • 2013 : Situationist Bon Gun,  The Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (ICAS)

For the full list of exhibitions, please get in touch with the gallery at enquiry@ipreciation.com


  • 1994 : Singapore International Foundation Art Grant
  • 1995 : Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Prize
  • 1999 : Arts and Culture Prize, 10th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes

Artwork Images




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