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Existence really is an imperfect tense that never becomes a present

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“The Voyeur”, 2009, Acrylic on Canvas

Quote by Friedrich Nietzsche

Justin Lim is a painter compelled to question existence. Faith, culture, gender and social hierarchy; these he believes are among the many tools of public and personal manipulation that are often left unquestioned. In an age where savagery and bestially have long been buried under the tissues of a civilized world, the trappings of society and culture are no longer limitations of objective expression.

With a penchant for peeling away at the layers of perceived truths, his earlier body of works, Gods Heroes & Myths, created during his 2008 Rimbun Dahan residency has been visual questionings of God and faith within a nation so heavily influenced by an illuminated chosen heaven and hell. An investigation of contemporary political events that were unfolding around him, his mode of representations have always been created with desire for both reaction and general understanding of the public. This need to carve out accessible avenues for comprehension of humanity by way of imagery is reflected throughout his use of Malay mythology and myth making.


“The Revolution will not be Televised”, 2009, Acylic on Canvas

Freedom remains a condition of every action in these existential pieces the artist wields on canvas. Again, meat in a variety of forms is heavily present in his work. This exploration into flesh, blood and bone and the immense significance and symbolism it holds to humanity, is of personal curiosity to the artist.

In a nation like Malaysia where religion is prominently influential, flesh to be consumed is to be scaled upon a hierarchy of religious weight age before deemed acceptable for those whose faith is wrapped within the four holy books, the Quran, Zaboor, Torah and the Bible. To what degree are these books apt truths to measure the quality of life? Also, how much of the way we live is merely an unconscious product of governance by politics, religion and culture? Is voyeurism an act entirely independent of the subjects within it? These are the questions raised within the sphere of his new works.


“Aeroplanes and Anatomy 2”, 2009, Acrylic on Canvas

Ideas birthed from instinct, his painting constructs itself with self improvisation to temper the edges of spirited ideas. His constant search for answers fuel his compulsion to create art to question the workings of the world he rises to. Traditional gender roles of strength and leadership within religion and evolution are examined in his piece The Revolution will not be televised. While Aeroplanes & Anatomy question the role of mortality as pawn in a controlled environment.


“Aeroplanes and Anatomy”, 2009, Acrylic on Canvas

Akin to his previous work, this current series is an extension in form and method of ideas. Justin’s new works will be on exhibition within his current participation in a loose presentation of works by four young male Malaysian artists at Taksu Gallery. Branded as the Fab 4, this exhibition opens on the 25th of June.


This article was first posted on the original Arteri site on 23 June, 2009 .

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