Lim Shengen

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Artist: Lim Shengen

Works at: Seoul Art Space_GeumCheon
Stays in: 2013
Genre: Visual Arts
2008 BA(Hons) Fine Arts, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore
2007 Diploma in Fine Arts Painting, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore

Solo exhibition

2009 ‘Being Lost, Being Found’ Alliance Française, Singapore

Group exhibition

‘Parallex’ Institute of Contemporary Art, Singapore
‘Mirror of Otherness: China – Singapore Video Art Exhibition’ Gaodi Gallery Shenyang Arts Centre, Shenyang, China
‘The Lecher of Art – The Mad Conferences of Professor Ma’ Substation Singapore, Singapore
‘Decode/Recode – Celebrating 100 years of Alan Turing: Epitaph of Alan Turing’ Creative Cube, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore, live streaming to Salford University, United Kingdoms
‘Salon 1112: It’s about the small things...’ Earl Lu Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Art, Singapore
‘Videologue; East Coast Park, Singapore (After Sugimoto)’ institute of Contemporary Art, Singapore
‘Christmas Tree, O, Christmas Tree’ Marina Bay Sands, Artscience Museum, Singapore
‘Transposition: Stormspotters’ Project Space, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore
‘Moments’ Geek Gallery, Singapore
‘Videologue: Camera Obscura’ Sunshine Museum of Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
‘Singapore Fringe Festival - Education, Void: Utopia’ Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
‘R.I.T.E.S: Rooted in the Ephemeral Speak’ Substation, Singapore
‘2e Biennale internationale de I’image de Luang Prabang, Laos - 2nd International Image Biennale of Luang Prabang, Laos.’ Luang Prabang, Laos (catalogued)
‘The Economist: What’s your opinion on the world today?’ Chervon House, Singapore
‘Rojak 12 “Place”: Being Lost, Being Found’ Substation, Singapore
‘Reverie & Fruition: Bachelor of Arts, Degree Show 08’ LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore (catalogued)
‘Void: Physical, Metaphysical’ Tickle Art, Citylink mall, Singapore
‘Beast, Breast and Beauty: Contemporary Southeast Asian Art from a private collection’, Alliance Française, Singapore (catalogued)
‘6’, Forth Space, Singapore
‘Identity:Photographs’, Praxis Space - LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
‘Fiber & Form’, Eagle’s Eye Art Gallery, Singapore
‘In Transitu – asmuchforyouasitisforus’, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore (catalogued)
‘Discreet Images’, Praxis Space - LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
‘Made In Singapore – 100% Singaporean Made and Owned’, Art Seasons, Singapore (catalogued)
‘Shower’, Hideout bar, Singapore


2007 Recipient of the LASALLE Undergraduate Scholarship, LASALLE College of the arts
2006 Recipient of the Georgette Chen Arts Scholarship, The National Arts Council
2005 Juror’s Choice, Philip Morris Group of Companies Singapore Art Awards
2003 Judges Choice Award ‘Singles Category’, Yahoo! Singapore Shiok Photo Party
       Weekly Winner, Week 1 Yahoo! Singapore Shiok Photo Party

<How we may see in a Chamber things that are not. (Photo-graph of a Toyol) >, Video installation, 2012

<Choso?n-ot(朝?服)> Video and Photograph installation, 2012

<Void: Utopia> Photographic Installation, 2011

<Void: Utopia> Photographic Installation, 2011

<Void: Physical, Metaphysical> Photographic Installation 2009

Shengen Lim

I am interested in the ideas of lost, be it an object, a moment, a sensation or even a being. I often find myself lost within experiences, overwhelmed by the multiple interpretations from the daily occurrences. In my practice, an alchemist-like process is used to translate or transmute phenomenological encounters to produce deliberate, yet surprising interventions. It is with this process that the sense and pleasure of being lost is negotiated with the ideals and accomplishments of being found within the work that are produced. My practice offers a stimulated perspective that is invested in the sublime.

Of Loss, Secrets and Ghosts: a
Conversation with Lim Shengen
Shirley Soh (Artist, Curator and Critic)
Shirley Soh (SS). You have moved around several mediums in your art making painting, photography, performance, mixed media, installation, but in the end, your work strikes me as trying to capture something very ephemeral about life, that one fleeting moment of thought of many thoughts.
Shengen Lim (SGL). To me, it’s a very reflective process that engages with the work or the daily experiences and observations that I encounter. I make it a point to proactively search for something or anything that has a possibility to be lost or overlooked, which, in turn, can be emphasized on. The aspects of secrets and loss that is very poetic in nature. There are multitude of experiences and thoughts that collectively come together. These collections of experiences and thoughts come and go very quickly, to be captured within the representational forms of the works, so how can one express oneself through using only one or two mediums? I consciously choose to express different thoughts in different works, as the different thoughts cannot be redefined in a singular manner. So I very much enjoy this alchemy-like process in the projects I pursue with modern technology and ancient ideas.
SS. It is interesting that you use the term "alchemy-like", a process you say you enjoy. Is this how you work - like an alchemist in the way you experiment, say, with mediums, old and new? Let’s talk about this in relation to some of your works.
SGL. It was first noted by my tutor Salleh Japar that the processes for my work Void: Physical, Metaphysical and Void: Utopia were done in a very alchemic fashion. These two works are a trilogy I was interested in while investigating photography, its origins, place, form and function in contemporary art. Discovering in an old Oxford dictionary that ‘photography’ was a Greek word, with ‘photo’ meaning light and ‘graphy’ meaning to draw or to write upon, so therefore a “photograph” is an image created by light falling onto a light sensitive material that might not necessary be paper. As photography was also invented from science and not art, the series became how I manipulated light onto three different surfaces, commonly known in basic science as the states of solid, liquid and gas. He shared with me ideas and thoughts of what I am doing as very much like an alchemist who had the ability to change one state to another (like stone into gold), which peaked my interest in natural physics, mysticism and the supernatural. So I chose to present photography not in a manner that it is commonly known for, but for what it can offer to be seen in a different "light".
SS. Yes, the use of light figures a lot in your work. As you said, photography is drawing with light. So would you say that content in your work is not important per se, but a platform for you to explore the qualities of light and therefore how and what we see. Even in your painting, you seemed concerned with this question of light, and wasn’t that done before Void and Utopia? Could we hear your thoughts about the subject of light?
SGL. Light itself presents many connotations, and it only requires a small input on my part to contextualize its usage. Manipulations are done to produce a certain quality much like how different paint strokes can affect the painting or a texture rendering of a surface for sculpture. Light is as important to me as paint and brushes would be important for a painter or as tools and materials are to a sculptor.
SS. You seemed fascinated with this idea of loss, but loss that is on a personal, intimate level, rather than something on a metascale like a country's historical memory. Would you agree with this?
SGL. Yes, the idea of loss, be it of a thing, a moment or a being, it’s rather close to the heart for me. In a general sense, everyone has experienced a type of lost moments in a lifetime and it is quite an empirical experience for each individual. The Photograph of Toyol1) was based on a Southeast Asian superstition where the fetuses of abortions or miscarriages are kept in small bottles and their spirits are used by the keepers to conduct mischievous deeds. Dancing endlessly in a loop, as poetic as that might sound, expresses a state of confusion and sadness of how these spirits might feel.
SS. So you are interested in trying to make the invisible visible - physically?
SGL. It becomes something about the unseen that drives curiosity. The physical and visible form of the imperceptible have almost no limit to how they can be represented, thus allowing more personal inputs from the artist. (smiles)
1) Toyol is Malay for a type of ghosts that are captured by bomohs which is another Malay term for witch doctors.