1 to 16 July 2023
In this series titled Daffodil, Quan Zhao Lim (b.1996) explores abstract narratives set within both real and imagined domestic spaces. The paintings explore how a sense of belonging is manifested in a place and how manipulating the elements of the space can turn a familiar environment into something unsettlingly incongruous.
The paintings depict domestic interiors not as fixed entities but as constructions derived from personal memory, serving as extensions of one’s subjective self. Within these representations, contradictory emotions of estrangement within the familiar and intimate emerge. Often constructing spaces that evoke human presence despite their absence, the artist expresses unspoken words and repressed sentiments, transforming living spaces into external manifestations of the yearning for belonging.
The exhibition’s title, Daffodil, takes its inspiration from William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” In the poem, the encounter and subsequent memory of daffodils serve as a blissful and comforting image for the persona amidst their state of wandering and alienation. The artworks reflect on the paradoxical nature of a globalised existence, where one experiences a sense of lightness and ease of traversing between borders but also bears the weight of losing a sense of permanence in relationships and places. The artist contemplates the state of wandering and the search for belonging, emphasising the placeless nature of belonging itself.
Furthermore, the reference to Jamaica Kincaid’s novel “Lucy” adds depth to the interpretation of the daffodil symbol. In the novel, the protagonist’s disdain for the idyllic flower stems from its association with colonial imposition and injustice. This contrast highlights the daffodil as a symbol that invites ambivalent interpretations within the postcolonial context, representing the uncanny interplay between the self and the other. The artist explores the disorientation and ruptures experienced in domestic life caused by internal conflicts of cultural beliefs and practices, prompting introspection and navigating colonial legacies within familial relationships. Amidst the flux of a globalised existence, the artist addresses the challenges of rebuilding a sense of “home” and forging new paths towards belonging.
The use of colour in the paintings creates a tint reminiscent of old family photographs captured on film, evoking a range of emotions that fluctuate between nostalgia and trauma. Drawing inspiration from imaginative elements, as well as references to cubism and surrealism, the artworks depict familiar spaces imbued with an air of mystery and ambiguity.
In one painting from the series, titled “Sandcastle,” the artist explores the language of stacking, piling, and accumulating indiscernible objects, symbolising the act of relocation and the sense of placelessness. These portable and collapsible objects serve as building blocks for transient structures, akin to constructing sandcastles that gradually erode with time. The painting reimagines the concept of place, reflecting on the process of piecing together fragmented senses of belonging and the underlying anxiety of impending uprooting.
Quan Zhao Lim (b. 1996) is an artist whose paintings provide a nuanced perspective on the interplay between personal and familial narratives, exploring the intricacies of memory and cultural identity. Drawing inspiration from personal recollections, imaginative elements, and references from art history, he creates abstract narratives that unfold within familiar settings, evoking a sense of the uncanny. By blurring the boundary between the figurative and the abstract, he captures the ever-evolving nature of perception, playing with our tendency to find familiar forms in ambiguous shapes. Rather than aiming for a single, fixed interpretation, the artist deliberately crafts his paintings to encourage a range of associations and meanings, thus emphasising the transformative potential of art to challenge historical exclusions and celebrate diverse perspectives.
Lim’s past works are under the collection of UOB and the Anglo-Chinese School Old Boys’ Association.
Mon, Tue, Thu & Sat: 12nn to 6pm, Sun: 1pm to 5pm, Wed & Fri: by appointment
Exhibition venue: #02-41, Bras Basah Complex
+65 8900 3807
Dreaming about what you’re dreaming about$1,800.00
She calls them a different name$1,800.00
Untitled (Undressing 2)
Untitled (Undressing 1)