In Planet Shangri-La, Lim continues his research into the various depictions of Utopia throughout history and art. In his previous exhibition, Honey Trap Arcadia (2017), Lim referred to great western depictions, and as an extension of this, the artist has widened his research into Eastern interpretations of paradise, particularly through oriental mythology paintings and traditional blue and white porcelain. Hence, the series is identified by a distinctive Dutch blue.
A hallmark of Lim’s practice is his keen sensitivity of colour and understanding of its politics within human psyche and social history. In this exhibition, Lim examines the notion of the ‘art object’ via the juxtaposition of specific colour markers, closely associated with precious commodity prized by both Western and Eastern royals. Laced in his familiar tongue-in-cheek commentary, the series is somewhat conceptually ironic; venerated as a ‘precious’ object, yet simultaneously, it is a testament to human’s neglect of the natural environment and the artist longing for a utopia. As explained by Lim, “In a way, I am documenting my outlook and sentiment on the state of the world and trying to find beauty in between the bleakness and discomfort of the human condition.” There is a strong sense of melancholy within its narrative and Lim expresses this via his depiction of underwater landscapes with coral and flowers, void of human intervention, providing hints that a non-human infested world is probably what Shangri-La, an earthly paradise looks like.
Justin Lim – Planet Shangri-La