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Lim Kim Hai | HARMONY - 3D virtual exhibition by Vallette Gallery

Lim Kim Hai | HARMONY

Sun, 05/03/2020 to Fri, 07/03/2020

curated by:

"Harmony" aims at showing the amazing artistic journey of Mr Lim Kim Hai. In this sense, I like to consider it as a prequel to "Optical Optimism".

We wanted to show the public where those amazing worlds of golden and green and red apple came from. We wanted to show the evolution from the quiet and sober interiors -his early realistic works- to the bursting colourful apple explosions, their joyful and strong, blissful and expressive of his hyperrealistic late work. We wanted to share a glimpse of this journey and some intermediate steps, involving those calm, majestic apples and their colorful and decorative, highly pictural backgrounds.

As different as these paintings might be, one can't but notice that there is a Leitmotif in Lim Kim Hai's work as a painter which gives this evolution its laws and coherence. It is the problematic of Harmony that guides, in my humble opinion, Mr Lim Kim Hai's artistic quest. It can seem a quite common artistic problematic, maybe not as shared nowadays as it used to be as contemporary art turned its back towards beauty, harmony and all those ancient values to conquer and explore new aesthetic grounds.

But Lim Kim Hai isn't a contemporary painter - he is a modern one, which does not mean at all that his art belongs to the past. On the contrary - in my eyes, his work is a direct response to the world as it goes, and seems to me to address nowadays chaotic and worrying global situations.

Lim Kim Hai's harmony used to be the Harmony of silence, of loneliness, the Harmony of the World past midnight or the one found in abandoned streets and in quiet indoor rooms. It is the Harmony of calm apples, laying atop of each other, in a 'Nature morte' setting, where their blissful colours and fascinating form enter in a visually pleasant and optical harmony.

By maturing both in his life and in his art, those apples increased in size and number, they started being lifted from the ground, floating and falling like rain, they started growing as well. They got energetic, affirmative, claiming their own space and individuality. They started fighting but also assisting each other. They claimed more and more pictural space, they grow bigger and bigger and became so numerous they eventually crowded the whole paintings.

Apples started as often in Art History : an occasion to paint, a convenient subject for the training of a young and passionate painter. They, quite literally, reached a cosmic, social an anthropological dimension. They were a pleasant detail of still-life paintings - now they are the sole subject, perspective, background, shape of the canvas. Their blissful explosion makes up for the whole colours the spectator gets to see. There is nothing else than apples, and yet we don't need to see anything more than apples. They are all that matters.

Ironically the later works seem more energetic, bold and playful, more youthful one might say, as the early works of the master appear calmer in comparison. And yet, they are also more mature and, in one paradoxal sense, more appeasing than ever. How come that these late and cosmic visions soothe us even better than the silent ones? I think that Lim Kim Hai approached the philosophical truth about harmony, and only in truth one can dwell and be at peace. The Harmony of Lim, as he evolved both artistically as a painter and existentially as a men, integrated the complexity of the world and the human condition.

Harmony isn't something that already exists and subsists by itself. Harmony means nothing if it there is no Chaos to be vanquished, no mouvements to be brought together, no affirmation of unity transcending the conflictual multiplicity. Harmony to be true has to be stronger than Chaos. Lim Kim Hai's apples, which represents people and their passions, their individuality and their shared human condition, their complex social mouvements, cooperations and competitions, are united by the ingenious compositions, the colors, the similarities they share as a great picture. Unity in diversity, and harmony above adversity is what Lim Kim Hai's latest art is all about. It was a long and rich journey which brought him where he is and where he still works today, as his artistic journey hasn't quite reached its final destination, its perfect manifestation in an ultimate painting. (It never does, which is why artists live an endless life).

It has often been said that Art has a calming effect, that its mission is to civilise and to appease people, to help them reach higher purpose in life, to teach them patience, joy and wisdom in its colorful ways. In Lim's case, this is certainly true.

Thank you for this, Master Lim Kim Hai.

Patrice Vallette, curator & director of Vallette Gallery
Constantin Beck co-curator & guest writer

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