KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Justin Lim returns to the Malaysian art scene with his latest collection – Honey Trap Arcadia. The exhibition is a collection of works that remains consistent with Lim’s artistic rhetoric – social commentary, and the political motifs are far from subtle.
We caught up with Lim at the Opening Reception of his solo exhibition at RK Fine Arts in Bangsar.
Fans of Lim’s previous work won’t be disappointed. His distinctive style where anatomically correct depictions are concerned is well-represented. This collection branches out from his previous work, and features more depth, refinement and political commentary than what’s come before.
Interestingly, the title leads one into thinking about a broader idea of what a honey trap entails. While the underlying term references sexual liaisons, the context of Lim’s work opens up the term ‘honey trap’ to a wider number of interpretations.
Lim explains, “The title of the show is Honey Trap Arcadia, and it’s a play on words using the analogy of a honey trap. It can talk about anything from political entrapment to entrapment of humanity almost, you know, and Arcadia being a fictional society that does not exist.”
“Humans can’t get to this ideal paradise today, so I think it talks about existence and how life entraps us all.”
What The Collection Says
Most of the paintings from Honey Trap Arcadia were sold within the first hour of the Opening Reception – a testament to how well Lim’s art is received.
Beyond the exceptional canvases, a number of the works are framed by ornate borders.
The borders are a critical part of the artwork, and Lim’s creations too. While some exist as mere frames for the art, there are others where the border detail is a crucial element that magnifies the message of the art contained within.
Lim confesses that beyond the political statements he’s making, there are discreet personal inclusions in his work that he is unwilling to divulge, “It’s all personal because I’m talking about it from the perspective of being in society today, so I think it always comes back to me.”
“In terms of personal stories, there are some, but I also like to think that they are for me.”
Lim’s goal is to ensure that his art is a part of himself that remains a talking point. He also wants to leave his work open to interpretation from the audience’s own perspective.
The Artist’s Choice
This latest body of work took Lim more than half a year to produce and the piece titled – Arcadia, is the artist’s favourite. It’s a painting that conveys a powerful but unsettling dystopian energy.
Lim explains, “The title of the work is ‘Arcadia’, and it’s very dark, instead of a picturesque landscape of perfection. It’s this imperfect, dark, sinister place.”
As a departure from the structured nature of his previous work, and even as a point of difference from some of the art within this exhibition, Arcadia voices itself differently. In a way, it is a culmination of his progress as an artist.
“When I work, I collect a lot of images that I would say formulate this visual dictionary that I use, and I pull them out and I make compositions out of it.”
The Binge’s Choice
Our personal favourite of the exhibition is the acrylic-encased piece, Brain Drain. It’s a more compact piece in terms of size, but this mixed-medium endeavour speaks volumes.
Real razor blades are attached to the canvas, jutting from a painted image of a human brain. It’s politically-charged message is as threatening as it is thought-provoking. A bird cage is etched onto the acrylic and keeps the anatomical and distressing nature of the painting contained. We couldn’t look away. – The Binge
Justin Lim’s exhibition, Honey Trap Arcadia, will be on display at RK Fine Art between the 6-27th of April, 2017.