Artist, Charles Lim is representing Singapore in the 56th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale. On display is a body of work developed since 2005 titled SEA STATE, a project in nine parts that explores the political, biophysical and psychic contours of the Southeast Asian city-state, through the visible and invisible lenses of the sea.
Lim’s practise is an intimate engagement with the natural world and our ways of monitoring it’s movements. SEA SCAPE for example, is particularly inspired by the World Meteorological Organization’s numbered code which measures the varying states of sea conditions from, calm, to moderate, to the phenomenal.
Likewise, Singapore is a place of radical changing experiences, from the physical effects of tropical forces on an urban city/island located along the equator in an era of climate change, to the fast-paced infrastructures of global capitalism in the context of post-colonialism. It is furthermore, the centre of world exchange and debates, representing a host of modern anxieties that Charles Lim characterises through the symbolic interplay between nature and culture.
Ultimately, what is immediately apparent in reading SEA SCAPE is how it portrays a national imaginary, reflecting both Singapore’s aspirations and realisations. As the artist himself maintains:
“Singapore reclaims and recreates itself constantly - this is the paramount expression of its will.
SEA STATE converges these debates into the transnational space of the sea as it incites responses, contexts and dilemmas, then, of this time, our time.”