Khey­ton Lim, part-time visual artist and full-time sales man­ager

Esquire (Singapore) - - Feature -

Lim’s work is show­cased as part of the Breaking Waves ex­hi­bi­tion at Chan + Hori Con­tem­po­rary gallery.

You will see one of my first few at­tempts to reaf­firm my sense of be­long­ing and de­sire for con­nec­tion with my fam­ily, my par­ents in par­tic­u­lar, in Head Spin­ning, Loop Cre­at­ing. I started by iden­ti­fy­ing visual cues that in­spire a sense of sub­tle anx­i­ety that man­i­fests within the sup­posed com­fort of the home. By us­ing ob­jects found from my own liv­ing space, I trans­late and trans­form the daily rou­tines and idio­syn­cra­sies into phys­i­cal forms, thus giv­ing them a vis­ceral ef­fect which is oth­er­wise un­gras­pable. Rather than a di­rect visual rep­re­sen­ta­tion, each work aims to re­veal a sense of fa­mil­iar­ity and hints at the ten­sion and other af­fec­tive con­di­tions that come with these rit­u­als.

‘Gone is the To­day’s To­mor­row’ is a 365-day ri­tual re-pre­sented in one. Each day is a piece torn off. Each piece ‘ad­vises’ on cer­tain ac­tiv­i­ties, from trav­el­ling to home re­mod­elling, pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion on the Chi­nese zo­diac and even in­di­cat­ing the aus­pi­cious­ness of each hour of the day. Each day be­fore it starts, for 25 years, my mother walks to the cal­en­dar, stares at it for ap­prox­i­mately 10 sec­onds, then tears it off. I have no idea what reg­is­tered in her mind, but anx­i­ety is not nec­es­sar­ily a disor­der or ill­ness. Like any other emo­tion, it is a sen­sa­tion to be un­der­stood and even ap­pre­ci­ated. I hope that my au­di­ence may be­come mind­ful be­cause aware­ness dis­rupts ha­bit­ual thoughts and al­lows them to re-eval­u­ate their cur­rent cir­cum­stances and lived ex­pe­ri­ences.

This series of works is a pre­cur­sor to a short film that com­prises a doc­u­men­ta­tion of un­scripted per­for­mances. Words can be lim­it­ing, so bod­ies with ties that bind would in­ad­ver­tently con­tinue to seek al­ter­na­tive means to in­ter­act and ne­go­ti­ate along the im­plicit bound­ary within a house­hold. I cre­ated it to re­flect the con­stant ne­go­ti­a­tion of power, ad­dress­ing the sub­ject of sex­u­al­ity within a het­eronor­ma­tive do­mes­tic set­ting. As a nar­ra­tive of build­ing in­ten­sity, it serves as an al­le­gor­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the sta­tus quo. The film is the most mean­ing­ful to me be­cause I took a step fur­ther to con­front the ele­phant in the room, es­pe­cially with the di­rect in­volve­ment of my fam­ily whom I con­sider to be my pri­mary au­di­ence.

I be­lieve al­most all fam­i­lies have skele­tons in their closet. How do we talk about such sen­si­tive top­ics in a pub­lic set­ting, be­yond the safety of a pri­vate space? Home is just a point of de­par­ture for many other sub­jects be­yond the do­mes­tic sphere. Re­flect­ing upon these lay­ers is an on­go­ing en­deav­our; it does not sim­ply con­clude at an ex­hi­bi­tion. We have to recog­nise that in­flu­ences may not sim­ply be emo­tional and fa­mil­ial, but also cul­tural, so­ci­etal and po­lit­i­cal. Be­tween artists and the pub­lic, I wish for more gen­uine con­nec­tions and en­gage­ment.

Khey­ton Lim makes his thoughts felt about su­per­sti­tion and spon­tane­ity in ‘Gone is the To­day’s To­mor­row’.

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