Drawing Circus by Lim Shing Ee

Imagination on a Trapeze

“And the fortune cookie said: Your talents will be recognised and suitably rewarded”

drawing circus

Images with the kind permission of the artist

The installation by artist Lim Shing Ee plays with whimsical, dream-like objects set in a portal that opened at sculpture square gallery. Look careful enough, you will spot a few consistent motifs, such as miniature red and white balloon-like forms, shadows that take uncanny 3D form, and featureless 4 legged ‘creatures’. In less psychedelic fashion than Japanese animated science fiction film, Paprika (2006), the installation Drawing Circus puns on ‘drawing circles’ and suggesting a playground for objects that were drawn and coming alive.

At the far end of the chapel gallery, a black fork tongue unrolls from a porthole window. On the left side of the gallery, a pink shadow of a 4 legged creature, cast by a sinking brown object. A headless 4 legged form perches on top, with another taller form on top, and another tiny red one on top. In a similar enchanting fashion, a brown soft-toy creature-object sits on a wooden cactus, and a long string stretches across the gallery, like preparing for a flying trapeze. Instead of hurling similarly bodied soft toys, we see ‘3D shadows’ strung on it, oddly shaped yet again. On the right side of the gallery, you will find prints of drawings, proudly displayed like photo frames of portraits of these featureless objects, at play – prancing, pausing, melting, meditating.

The impetus for the installation would probably come from the drawings, itself an activity of playing with the line, or what Paul Klee calls “… taking a dot for a walk”. Similarly, the forms presented here are objects born to this world by taking the imagination to a circus.  A circus here, does not simply mean “a travelling company of performers that may include acrobats, clowns, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, unicyclists and other stunt-oriented artists”. Nor is it in grand Cirque Du Soleil mannerism. “Circus of the Sun”, often regarded as a contemporary circus, by mixing great fantasy, lavish costumes, circus arts in a dazzling theatre-style, themed, with flowing narratives. A circus here, portrays the artist as circus master, the gallery a marque, and the installation referring to the performers. These objects, or creatures appear tamed, perhaps to the delight of some. To others, they are playful and may remind one of the elephant being digested in the boa constrictor, seen in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince (1943). In looking for a sensible explanation for these strange, tamed creatures, we lose the delight in their formless-ness, or lack of exactitude; guidelines, restrictions that are matters of grave consequence. Like imagination on a trapeze, a leap of faith, abandoning gravity (of grave consequences) might just be what we need to appreciate the composition and arrangement of the work.

Sculpture Square

Chapel Gallery
Exhibition Period : 6 February – 7 March 2010
Exhibition Time : 11am -6pm (Monday to Friday)
12pm – 6pm (Saturday and Sunday)
admission free

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