Hings Lim’s Flaming Tower, with its rivulets of hardened wax, is an object with a before and after. Before it is lit, the wax holds its shape, afterwards, it once again takes on a semi-rigid form; between these states, the wax is warm, soft, and malleable.
In order to create this piece Lim drew upon another type of sculpted form—bifaces, or hand axes. Thought to be the longest-used tools in human history, dating to the Lower Paleolithic period (before 300,000 years ago), these tools were typically made of flint and are hypothesized to have had myriad uses. Using 3D modeling data that corresponds to artifacts in the holdings of the North Carolina Archeological Collection, Lim printed 3D models of selected hand axes, which he subsequently used to create his own wax replicas. Fitted with wicks and molded in various colors, Lim’s bifaces provided the fuel for Flaming Tower.
Each of these bifaces reflects the delicate details of the originary flint flakes; molded in wax, their edges are almost transparent in contrast to their darker cores. The delicacy of these pliant objects makes the survival of their abstracted source material all the more improbable, and suggests that perhaps these primordial rocks can be seen not only as ancient tools, but as a form of ancient sculpture. Flaming Tower, like the Paleolithic artifacts from which it draws its specifications, is a work that holds time, visibly marking its passage. – Text by Kate Rouhandeh
Hings Lim – In Cahoots: Artists and Curators at USC Roski (Online Exhibition)
3 - 21 December 2020
UTA Artist Space,
403 Foothill Rd.
Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 6pm
Mondays by appointment