ANIMATION IN SINGAPORE CONTEMPORARY ART: HILMI JOHANDI AND DAVE LIM
Yanyun Chen (Singapore)
1 – Yale-NUS College
Dr. Yanyun Chen (b. 1986, Singapore) is an artist . She runs a charcoal-based drawing and installation practice, and her works respond to writing — fictional and philosophical — as well as aesthetic traditions and techniques. She was presented with the People’s Choice Award for “The scars that write us” at the President’s Young Talents 2018 exhibition at Singapore Art Museum and is the winner of the 2019 ArtOutreach IMPART Visual Artist Award. She received her Phd with Summa Cum Laude from the European Graduate School. She is a full-time lecturer in the Arts & Humanities division of Yale-NUS College in Singapore, the founder of illustration and animation studio Piplatchka, and the managing partner of publishing house Delere Press LLP. She lives and works in Singapore.
Emerging Singaporean contemporary artists Hilmi Johandi and Dave Lim adopt methods in animation production to ask questions about their contemporary existences. Neither are animators. Johandi, as a painter disengaged with historical archive materials and locations before his time, uses animation to reveal this intellectual and emotional disassociation, trimming away any form of human activity in his recent exhibition ‘Exposition’. He asks: how do we consider the places that no longer exist, except in texts, in photographs, and in memories? Who are we to make claims to those spaces? Lim engages with surveillance footage of our security obsessed society through playful surreal sequences, making use of the lag time between live footage and live streaming to make animations from screen captures off public security cameras. These works exist in the cracks of high surveillance. Their works consider an artist’s place in Singapore’s conservative art environment, using animation techniques to give a voice to an art scene that is often silenced. This paper compiles their thoughts and their processes from interviews, and argues for animation that is not solely meant as a storytelling technique, but also as a strategy for thinking, questioning, and criticising in Singapore contemporary art that sits safely within the blurred boundaries of non-fiction and fiction.