Critics’ Picks

Kim Lim, Ring, 1970, engraving, 15 x 16".

Kim Lim, Ring, 1970, engraving, 15 x 16".


Kim Lim

41 Robertson Quay
January 13–March 3, 2018

Culled from private collections and the artist’s estate, the works in British Singaporean sculptor Kim Lim’s current exhibition add up to a comprehensive survey of her efforts in printmaking. Presented alongside her sculptures, Lim’s prints appear sculptural and demonstrate a corresponding concern with materiality.

A timeline in the show parallels developments in her practice with events across art and international history, including Singapore’s cultural policy. For instance, 1967 is highlighted as the year one of her pieces was displayed at the British pavilion in Expo 67 in Montreal and also as the year the Singapore Art Society opened its first sculpture exhibition. The loose associations of the timeline allude to Lim’s unique dislocation within art-historical discourse by pointing to the affinity of her practice with American Minimalism while also noting her independence from the trends affiliated with the development of modern sculpture in this country. Ultimately, the show implicitly questions the limits of national art histories, calling for ways to rethink the overlaps between the national and international.

The exhibition is the first retrospective of Lim’s work in her land of origin and promises to mark a turn in the discursive trajectory of an artist who has often been written about in relation to her husband, the British artist William Turnbull. Prints such as Ring, 1970, an engraving presented in proximity to the steel sculpture Ring, 1972, illustrate the artist’s working process across a range of diverse materials, while Wind/Water Series, 1980, inspires an appreciation for her skill in wielding line through deliberate and distinct cuts into stone. The chiseling in stone draws into high relief the tense references to the natural and artificial in her work. Later screen prints such as Time Shift B, 1993, and A, 1995, come as a refreshing contrast from the subtractive logic of carving that defined her earlier output.