Lives and Works: Singapore
Regarded as Singapore’s next master ceramist, Jason Lim’s artistic growth over the past decade has been remarkable. Also a performance artist, Jason combines skilled craftsmanship in sculpting with influences from performance art. The result is ceramic pieces that go beyond being merely objects of beauty, to subjects that provoke thought and interaction with the viewer.
Jason’s ceramics transcend the tradition of functionality. Almost sculptural instead, his works take on strikingly organic forms – an asymmetrical plate, a sealed vessel or a perforated bottle. Deliciously earthy yet fragile, the duality in his works prompts one to ponder over the creation process, while their asymmetry provokes a rethinking of balance and symmetry. Unpretentious in nature, Jason’s ceramics exude a beautiful stark rawness that reflects the artist’s skill and energy.
Jason’s first show was in Canterbury, England in 1992. He has since exhibited across the globe in Australia, Germany, India, Japan, Poland, Singapore, Thailand and the Netherlands. Jason Lim was also part of the Singapore Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007.
“When I returned from London in 1992, I had limited access to a ceramics studio, and this meant that ceramics, as I knew it, came to an abrupt halt. For 10 years, I ‘finished’ my pieces without the traditional process of firing. I also learnt to deal with the problem of lack of space, equipment and facilities. I had come to terms with working in small spaces - a HDB bedroom and balcony. Recently, however, I am fortunate to have access to kilns. This has had a tremendous effect on my work, resulting in a burst of creativity.
Trained as a ceramist, I am aware of my objects’ connection with traditional ceramics. Evidence of my interest in the vessel is seen in the forms of my work. My intention is to produce a series of ‘wrong sort’ of objects - ‘wrong’ because culturally they have a different feel from more traditional works.
My pieces are created for the individual. They are neither objects that I make for myself nor things I devise for a collaborative audience such as the ‘public’. The relationship between the objects and the viewer may be intimate but they do not address any specific individual.
Placing the works on a horizontal plane has to do with wanting them to look like ordinary everyday things. The combination of size, behaviour, method of making and material encourage the viewer to consider them as objects they may have encountered during everyday life.
Size and that of appearance – the metaphor and references conjured by the imaginary – are crucial links to everyday things and surroundings. The ‘smallness’ of my works creates a complex reading based on the fact that the viewer’s attention may move from detail to section to entire object without making any physical shift of viewpoint. I hope to break down the distance between the viewer and objects.
The works seen in the context of the gallery are ‘under scaled’. They become unstable, their position provisional and precarious. Because they rarely sit squarely, because they roll or sometimes merely maintain equilibrium, they make the viewer want to adjust them, or shift them to a safer ground. Given that they are readily portable, and easily housed, this wish to convey them to a safer space is more than a question of adaptability. All sites are temporary, adequate only to the occasion. The objects accept their resting place, co-habiting temporarily alongside other types of objects. Intrinsically however they are nomadic.
My ideas are in a constant flux. I change the identity of things, and make many layers of meaning. I find it important to capture visual tendencies that influence and stimulate the viewer’s perception and imagination. In this way, I want my work to provide visual questions instead of answers.” - Jason Lim
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