Jason Lim is a Singapore-born ceramist and performance artist. Fascinated with the language of clay, he often uses the medium beyond its traditional applications, favouring a minimalist sensibility and the involvement of the viewer.Read More
Lim's artworks have long focused on the interaction between body, matter and spirit. For his 1995 exhibition Three tonnes of clay at The Substation in Singapore—created in collaboration with Ng Siew Kuan—Lim filled the entire gallery with unfired clay and invited the audience to experiment by covering their surroundings with the damp material. While the loamy smell of wet earth was noticeable at the beginning of the performance, over time the clay became dry and brittle, falling off the wall.
In Encounter under the banyan—the artist's 2018 exhibition at Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore—Lim's opening night performance of Duet with light saw the artist light candles that dripped along and burnt the length of his left arm as they melted, implicating the audience as voyeurs. The lighting conditions in the empty gallery space were reminiscent of Rembrandt's use of chiaroscuro to paint with light—a visual style that Lim has cited as an influence.
Following Duet with light, Lim performed the artwork Under the shadow of the banyan tree, for which he laid 1500 kilograms of unfired terracotta clay on the floor of the gallery. Executed over six days and lasting six hours each day, Lim recreated in clay the forms of the tropical banyan tree's aerial roots. The performance gave prominence not only to the properties of clay and the artist's bodily actions, but also to the banyan tree—a species respected in the Asia-Pacific region for its mythical and spiritual connotations.
In other performances, such as Last Drop (2005–present), Lim uses water to generate aesthetic experiences in the gallery. In Last Drop, Lim works through various experiments with water, including ways of pouring it, such as the Sisyphean attempt to catch a drop poured from a glass in the same glass.
Lim studied at Central Saint Martins, London, and acquired his MFA from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (LASALLE College of the Arts). Lim has performed in over 20 countries including Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. In 2007, Lim presented Just Dharma and Light Weight at the Singapore Pavilion of the 52nd Venice Biennale. In the same year, he presented Walking Sticks at the 4th World Ceramics Biennale in Korea. His ceramic work has been acquired by public museums, art institutions, companies and private collectors, both in Singapore and globally.
Christine Han | Ocula | 2018
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