Sculpture


Ng Eng Teng's first sculptures were terracotta figurines which he fired in 1959 at the Jurong Brickworks and the now-defunct Alexandra Brickworks when he was still a student at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. At the same time he learned the technique of casting in ciment-fondu from Jean Bullock.

Ng then studied pottery design at the North Staffordshire College of Technology in 1962-63, and studio pottery and sculpture at the Farnham School of Art in 1964. Since then, he has worked with all sorts of materials, including stone and metal, but he prefers clay because it offers the challenge of direct and immediate manipulation of material, ciment-fondu because it can be easily repaired if chipped or cracked and, since the late 1980s, bronze because of its malleability and durability.

His main source of inspiration has always been the human figure, and even his abstract works are experiments based in elements of the human form. Throughout his career, he seems to have kept two distinct styles going side by side - rounded, biomorphic forms portraying human conditions such as motherhood, or human states, such as fear; and angular or geometric forms, reminiscent of metal sheets, pipes or beams, abstractions of the human figure but often imbued with a distinct sense of humour.

No matter what its formal character or material composition, Ng's sculpture embodies his concern with themes of identity and belonging, of basic human feelings and states of mind. It is a search for metaphor
and meaning as well as formal originality, even in the 1970s when sculputre tended to eliminate theme.