21 October to 5 November 2023
Delineate features rare paintings by renowned Chinese-Singaporean artist Chen Wen Hsi, paired with new works by visual artist Tristan Lim. The exhibition explores the contrasts and similarities in the practices of both artists, drawing a line between two different approaches in expression.
On display for the show are two of Chen Wen Hsi’s rarer paintings. Created in the 1960s, they see him experiment with lacquer painting, a technique renowned for its beauty along with its complex and unpredictable process. Non-brushstrokes, smudges, and inks layer on top of one another, which sees his experimental spirit emerge.
Tristan’s work consists of two UV prints on aluminum composite, mounted on an aluminum profile frame. The prints each consist of human-like silhouettes coalescing and separating, in a tussle to exist, evolving into digital brush-strokes and flat forms.
Made with 3D software, stray polygons and visual glitches in the silhouettes can be observed, making their virtual nature apparent.
To delineate is to be precise; to mark out with clarity, definition.
To viewers familiar with the work of both artists however, definition is constantly flirted with in their practices, in the skirting of silent boundaries and formal traditions their mediums inhabit. What piques interest here is this tendency to deviate from conventional approaches towards their mediums spans across two distinct time periods, disparate influences, and different tools. We can think of the time that spans across the practices of both artists as a horizontal line, or lineated across time, if we will.
From there, a thread of relation emerges that pulls the two practices even closer, in their considerations towards art-making, albeit with different lenses.
An awareness of dimensionality underlies both practices. Chen Wen Hsi’s experimentation with traditional compositions to imbue dynamism in his works are followed by Tristan Lim’s constant use of 3D softwares to manifest physical flatness. There is an artistic logic to translate beyond a flat surface, and vice versa.
Another noticeable line of thought is the instilling of a semblance of life into their works. Chen Wen Hsi’s energetic, dynamic brushwork invigorates his subject matter, as if to spring them forth in the eyes of the viewer. Tristan uses 2D/3D animation, found footage and generative techniques to form seamless video loops that perpetuates their own collaged existence within the frames of their own screen.
A strand that runs through both practices is their negotiations with the subject of Nature. Chen Wen Hsi’s keen observation of natural landscapes lends an enduring presence to his skilled rendition of animals and landscapes in dynamic, Cubist forms. Tristan draws from speculative evolution and fictive universes to craft figures that are decidedly artificial and otherworldly, suspended between idea and form.
For an artist that comes after another, there is a burden of influence one seems to carry; an unspoken lineage. If we were to think of this lineage as a vertical line, traveling downwards, a parallel line of connectivity emerges, but consequently also acts as a border of separation between two distinct practices. We can envision the vertical line intersecting with the horizontal line mentioned earlier, forming an axis (+). The axis becomes coordinate; a mark/point where practices converge, across time, from which the spirit of innovation emerges and compels us to move forward.
Exhibition period: 21 October – 5 November 2023
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