July 4, 2012 - Singapore Art Museum - Jia Aili, Jeremy Sharma, and Yeo Shih Yun
July 4, 2012

Jia Aili, Jeremy Sharma, and Yeo Shih Yun

Jia Aili, Old Painter I, 2008–2009. Oil on canvas, 229 x 400 cm. Singapore Art Museum collection.

Exhibitions at
Singapore Art Museum

Seeker of Hope: Works by Jia Aili

Lyrical Abstraction: Works by Jeremy Sharma and Yeo Shih Yun
6 July–23 September 2012

Singapore Art Museum
71 Bras Basah Road
Singapore 189555

Seeker of Hope exhibition page
Lyrical Abstraction exhibition page

The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is proud to present Seeker of Hope: Works by Jia Aili, alongside the complementary parallel exhibition Lyrical Abstraction: Works by Jeremy Sharma and Yeo Shih Yun.

Since its focus on contemporary art in 2009, SAM has emphasised the importance of contemporary Asian art as an expression of the rapid cultural, economic, and political changes in Asia. Seeker of Hope presents Jia’s works that are personal reflections on post-millennium changes in China and art in the globalised world. The exhibition showcases close to 50 artworks, including stunning, epic-scale oil paintings, video installations, and delicate paper works.

Born in 1979 into a time of rapid economic reforms and a year after the one-child policy was introduced in China, Jia expresses in his paintings his feelings as a young Chinese growing up in the ’80s, with no political baggage yet facing loneliness and solitude at times. Coming from a generation of Chinese artists steeped in Western art history, Jia draws from classical Western painting methods, producing artworks which layer concepts of world art history together with his own personal histories and experiences in modern China, speaking of how people of his generation deal with modernity and tradition.

Seeker of Hope showcases the seductive visual style in Jia’s works and broadly explores themes and ideas on Romanticism, the power of nature, technological and scientific advancements, human mortality and death, the costs of industrialization, and the human condition.


Complementing the show is parallel exhibition Lyrical Abstraction: Works by Jeremy Sharma & Yeo Shih Yun, featuring large-scale paintings commissioned by SAM and created by two Singaporean contemporaries. Both artists have re-imagined the medium of painting, considering how materials and forms from other art styles can re-invigorate a painting.

An oil on metal panel installation, Sharma’s Kurosawa is an abstract work made up of mainly white and black washes achieved by pouring paint on aluminum panels and then allowing them to drip at varying speeds. Named after the Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, the installation recalls the use of colours and shadows in Kurosawa’s films, where light and darkness were metaphors for good and evil.

Yeo’s Conversations with Trees is a mixed-media installation that reflects her ‘dialogue’ with trees. Prints created from the natural swaying of brushes dipped in Chinese ink and tied to tree branches have been silkscreened then digitally processed and recomposed into an expansive landscape reminiscent of a traditional Chinese ink landscape painting.

Mr. Tan Boon Hui, Director of SAM, says, “SAM is pleased to present Seeker of Hope, a show that offers audiences another aspect of contemporary painting. Jia’s works stand out among his generation for several reasons: the sheer effort he puts into painting them, working without assistants, and the complex engagement with ideas of romanticism and pastoral landscapes from Western art history. Yet each work is rooted in local reality and the artist’s artistic responses to his surroundings. His stunning landscapes, with their mysterious masked figures, are in a sense, allegories about the challenges of modernity—both its exhilarating energy as well as its threat to tradition and sense of security.

“In Singapore, painting as a practice is often overshadowed by newer forms of contemporary art-making such as performance, installation, new media and photography. We therefore also present Lyrical Abstraction, a high profile platform for two talented Singaporean painters to stretch their vocabulary by creating large scale works in the museum space. The works are not only conceptually interesting, but also visually beautiful and will allow visitors to enjoy different styles of painting.”

Seeker of Hope is presented by Credit Suisse AG as part of the Credit Suisse: Innovation In Art Series. Both exhibitions are supported by a series of artist talks and curator’s tours.



Jia Aili, Jeremy Sharma, and Yeo Shih Yun at Singapore Art Museum
Singapore Art Museum
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