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Goh Beng Kwan. Geomancy. c. 1980s.
Household paint, ink, Chinese tea-wrapping paper, rice paper, decorative paper, fabric,
string, soil, wax and glue on canvas.

Collection of National Gallery Singapore

Goh often created collages such as Geomancy that were informed by local cultures, traditions and customs. The practice of geomancy or feng shui, a system of organising the built environment based on good qi or energy, is embedded into Chinese culture and was a key part of everyday life in the artist’s own neighbourhood of Chinatown. During the 1980s, Goh often derived inspiration from the bustle of Chinatown, creating works that were ritualistic, symbolic, and easily accessible to local audiences. Geomancy demonstrates Goh’s interests in Chinese cosmological traditions. This circle divided with threads into four quadrants alludes to the luopan compass used in Chinese geomancy, a form of divination.
Suggestions of ritual are made through simple yet evocative materials such as tea wrapping paper, and the use of Chinese calligraphy and dramatic reds and blacks.

Dimension: 150x150mm