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Interview with Hilmi Johandi


Interview with Hilmi Johandi
Bangsawan, Hilmi Johandi

New Exhibition:  Dusk to Dawn | Fajar Ke Senja by Hilmi Johandi
Opens at OCBC Art Space, from 9 – 27 June 2014

Born in 1987, Hilmi Johandi is a young artist based in Singapore; he graduated with a BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Arts from LASALLE College of the Arts-Goldsmiths, University of London in 2013. Dusk to Dawn marks his first solo show in Singapore, exploring the dichotomies between painting and film, moving and still images, tradition and modernity that Hilmi explores in both his large cinematic paintings and static animation videos. 


Please tell us more about this new body of work? Who or what inspired you?
The fascination to depict movement on a flat canvas surface started some years ago when I began to create paintings using films as a conceptual framework. This body of work is a contextual extension of an on-going practice-based research, which was centred primarily on gaining insights in the ‘affects’ of our perceptions as artists and spectators of movement and of the traces of time passing in paintings and works of film by utilising the language of moving image. I am consistently exploring the methods of constructing and fabricating interpretation from a variety of visual narratives through the act of painting.

Entitled Dusk to Dawn | Fajar ke Senja, this new body of work was constructed with fragments that suggest different forms and aspects of a culture that has interacted and changed over time, especially at a time of great political, social and cultural change throughout Singapore.  

Merely focusing on a contextual approach, I progressed myself into historical references taken from films, photographs and paintings that were made at that period. These included P. Ramlee films and Chua Mia Tee’s social realist paintings as reference points.

The Craftsmen, Hilmi Johandi

What do you hope to convey to audiences when they see the show?
I intend to convey nostalgic interpretations by focusing on the conflict between modernity and tradition from the above mentioned references as elements to impart cultural and historical relevance to now.

Symbols, metaphors and allegories lie within the details of every image. These images are perhaps suspicious, mundane or voyeuristic to emphasise uncertainty and vulnerability. For every piece, each has its own individual process of my own experiences, which then become available for the viewers’ subjective interpretations with their own memories and experiences.

In a sense, this series of works constitutes to the artist’s own composition of reconstructed narratives, portraying montages of cultural and historical images of Singapore.


City Dwellers, Hilmi Johandi

Any new projects on the horizon?
My next project is with Affordable Art Fair Young Talent Programme Winner’s Solo Exhibition, which will be held in September this year at the ION Gallery in Singapore. This project will be focused primarily on the methodological approach of my current research practice.

As a young practicing artist based in Singapore today, what are your views on the general art scene?
Exciting with years to come. I’m optimistic like that.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Frames and time.

What is your favourite place to see art?
Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum of Contemporary Art, Berlin.

Street Market 2, Hilmi Johandi

What’s your favourite post-gallery watering hole or restaurant?
Al-Jilani, just because they are 24/7.
(a friendly kopitiam on 127 Bencoolen Street, Singapore)

What work of art do you wish you owned?
Las Hilanderas by Diego Velasquez

What would you do to get it?
Nothing. It is impossible.

What international art destination do you most want to visit?
Ghent, Belgium for now.

Who is your favourite living artist?
William Kentridge.

What is the last great book you read?
Kinomuseum: towards an artists’ cinema


The Wives, Hilmi Johandi

With the support of Galerie Steph and Asian Art Options, OCBC Art Space presents Hilmi Johandi’s debut solo exhibition from 9 – 27 June 2014. OCBC Art Space is committed to supporting emerging local and regional artists, by presenting their works at the OCBC Centre Branch on 65 Chulia Street in Singapore.


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