Seminal modern art exhibition ‘Grup’ gets a 50th anniversary revisit

It was revolutionary in its own way, this new wave of modern art in Malaysia that was a stark departure from realism as we knew it. No snapshots of people going about their day, flowers in a vase, or a basket of fruits on a checkered table cloth.

It was in the 1950s and 1960s that modern art started to take hold here, with names like Anthony Lau, Cheong Laitong, Ibrahim Hussein, Jolly Koh, Latiff Mohidin, Syed Ahmad Jamal and Yeoh Jin Leng bringing with them fresh ideas and perspectives after returning from abroad.

Recognised today as pioneers of modern art in Malaysia, they created ripples in the local art scene then.

In 1967, they participated in Gerak Rupa Ubur Penyataan (Grup), a seminal exhibition that was held at KL’s AIA Building on Jalan Ampang, a 30-storey corporate high-rise that was completed two years prior.

“The building marked the beginning of new architectural developments

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