What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you come across the glorious durian? The sweet, pungent odour of home? The threatening, yet welcoming, effortlessly geometrical structure?
According to self-taught artist Lim Siang Jin, the emotions and ideas associated with the durian will always remain a mystery. He turns to integrating painting, computer work, and prose in a way that enriches the unified wholes in order to appropriately depict them in his works. He effectively eliminates the gap between digital and analogue that is currently common in art in this way.
This series of paintings, Evocative Durian, Mystifying Durian, combines genuine acrylic and ink paintings with “derivative” reproductions. The latter are the outcome of work involving, among other elements, photography and Adobe Photoshop.
One of nine works may be found at Lim Siang Jin’s exhibition named “Restart 2020: Continuation & Change, Biographical Expressions.” It will take place at A Place Where by APW in Bangsar from October 21 to October 30. Lim employs accessories like glass, translucent plastic, and chicken wire mesh to make the “derivatives”.
These “analogue” tools enable Lim to distort different parts of the canvases in order to make them subtle yet potent, dramatic, and enigmatic—emotional components that express Lim’s sentiments about the fruit. One would be compelled to try to understand the drawings with titles like “Bickering Over Durian,” “The Gaze Among Thorny Distractions,” and “Above The Fray.”
Back to Black is another notable digital-analog hybrid, in addition to the Durian series. It involves rectangles that combine three different elements: little black-and-white rectangular sketches; images of rain tree canopies; and colours from a famous work of art, such as one by Pablo Picasso. The resulting forms are then combined to create a sculpture akin to a Warhol creation.
Viewers of the original paintings and their digital-analog prints in the show will be able to appreciate these finer nuances. With their intriguing doodles, brilliant colours, gimmicky lines, and abstract shapes of commonplace everyday objects and scenes, all the other series in this exhibition appeal to both young and old viewers.
For instance, the Unconnected television series might lure a guest to uncover what the pot-bellied man is up to. After a 30-year hiatus, this exhibition shows how Siang Jin’s artistic journey has continued. It also represents a number of developments that have occurred since his restart.
“A fairly coincidental act of picking up some old sketches and incomplete works in the beginning of 2020 revived my interest. Since then, I have made over 200 paintings and digital-analog works, including the nine series on display at this exhibition, according to Lim.
Excerpts from a Doodle, Schticks, and Restart 2020: Continuation and Change are the first three series, which represent the “continuation” of earlier doodles and sketches that have been updated and given new life. The six series that came after that—Unconnected, Adventures with Acrylics, Exaggerated Stills, Fear and Hope in Covid Times, Back to Black and Evocative Durian, Mystifying Durian—represent the “change” in which fresh concepts emerged and gave rise to more recent works, particularly the digital-analog pieces.
As a former production worker and writer in the media and publishing sector who utilised the services of the former Art Printing Works, holding this debut exhibition at A Place”, Ee Soon Wei, CEO of A Place Where by APW, stated that he is incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to showcase Siang Jin’s first solo exhibition as an artist.
“It is possible to observe how APW as a space continues to push boundaries creatively and collectively by looking at the numerous layered relationships between the space, the people, and the work itself. This likely persona — one who is deeply curious and deliberate while crafting a story — is extremely nicely integrated in Siang Jin’s work. I’m happy we’re working on this together after the long, drawn-out pandemic. This show emphasises the significance of “purposeful togetherness,” which is where space and art converge,” he quips.
Visit www.limsiangjin.art to learn more about Siang Jin’s artwork and other biographical expressions.