April 8, 2016 - NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore - Charles Lim Yi Yong: SEA STATE
April 8, 2016

NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore

Charles Lim Yi Yong, SEA STATE 0: all the lines flow out (still), 2011. Digital film. Courtesy of the artist.

Charles Lim Yi Yong
April 30–July 10, 2016

NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore
Gillman Barracks
43 Malan Road
Singapore 109443
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 12–7pm,
Friday 12–9pm

T +65 6460 0300

Facebook / Instagram

The Geopolitical and the Biophysical: a structured conversation on Art and Southeast Asia in context, Part II
June 17 & 18, 2016

SEA STATE by artist and former Olympic sailor Charles Lim Yi Yong, commissioned for the Singapore Pavilion for the 56th Venice Biennale and curated by Shabbir Hussain Mustafa, will be presented at the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore from April 30 to July 10, 2016. For over a decade, Lim’s ongoing project SEA STATE examines the biophysical, political and psychic contours of Singapore through the visible and invisible lenses of the sea. SEA STATE is an in-depth inquiry by an artist that scrutinises man-made systems, opening new perspectives on our everyday surroundings, from unseen landscapes and disappearing islands to the imaginary boundaries of a future landmass. 

The exhibition at NTU CCA Singapore is the first significant gathering of the various critically acclaimed components of the project since it started in 2005, and the Centre’s first major exhibition of a Singaporean artist. SEA STATE encompasses digital video works, altered marine charts, a three-dimensional sand model of the seabed around Singapore, and a five metres tall maritime buoy. The buoy, fondly referred to as the Sajahat Buoy, alludes to Pulau Sajahat (Sajahat Island), which disappeared from the world’s nautical charts in 2002 due to Singapore’s intensified land reclamation efforts. The buoy that once marked the island similarly disappeared, compelling the artist to reconstruct the buoy to fully unravel the gravitas of this disappearance. In addition to the works exhibited at the Singapore Pavilion, the exhibition in Singapore will be extended by the photographic series "inside\outside" (2005), part of SEA STATE 1, and Lim’s short film all the lines flow out which received a Special Mention at the 68th Venice Film Festival in 2011, making Lim the first Singaporean to be honoured at the festival.

SEA STATE is inspired by the World Meteorological Organization’s code for measuring sea conditions and numbered in chapters following the varying states of the sea ranging from calm, to moderate, to the phenomenal. Previous iterations and various stages of SEA STATE have been exhibited at Manifesta 7, Italy (2008); Singapore Biennale (2011); Institut d’Art Contemporain Villeurbanne, France (2013); and Osaka Biennale, Japan (2013). Lim's engagement with Mustafa began when they initiated In Search of Raffles' Light (2012-) at the NUS Museum, a multimodal project that meditates upon Singapore's vexed relationship with the sea.

“When we think of a nation as a physical thing we imagine a landmass. Yet the true border of any country touching the sea is not the edge of the land, but out in the water. The actual border and the imagined border are quite different, especially for an island like SingaporeSEA STATE makes that border visible. It brings to the fore what is ordinarily kept in the background, the real depths of the sea and our uneasy maritime unconscious,” says Lim.

As a research-intensive investigation into the evolving cultural and territorial space of the sea, Lim’s presentation of SEA STATE closely aligns with the Centre’s research focus on knowledge production in contemporary art practices. To support the development of the Venice presentation, Lim was awarded a nine-month residency at the NTU CCA Singapore in 2014/2015. “Lim’s ambitious project demands multiple readings, revealing the indirect histories that art can unpack. A highly significant project pivotal to understanding Singapore’s geopolitical anxieties as a city state, SEA STATE is most of all a contemplation of an artist’s profound and cerebral relationship with his environment,” notes Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore.

NTU CCA Singapore will organise the symposium The Geopolitical and the Biophysical: a structured conversation on Art and Southeast Asia in context, Part II on June 17 and 18, 2016. The conversation will continue and expand upon the debate first held on the occasion of the Singapore Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale in May 2015, addressing the possibilities and uncertainties faced by societies within and beyond the boundaries of Southeast Asia, focusing on the notion of national representation and its challenges. A comprehensive public programme for SEA STATE offers points of entry into and expands on Lim’s practice with various contributions from speakers including Professor Lui Pao Chuen, former Chief Defence Scientist at the Ministry of Defence Singapore, Jegan Vincent de Paul, researcher and PhD candidate at NTU CCA Singapore, amongst others.

The presentation of SEA STATE and the symposium The Geopolitical and the Biophysical: a structured conversation on Art and Southeast Asia in context, Part II held at NTU CCA Singapore are generously supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth, National Arts Council Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board. 

NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore
Share - Charles Lim Yi Yong
  • Share