Eugenia Lim Yellow PerilOpening: Wednesday 8 April, 6-8pm Dates: 8-25 April 2015
‘Yellow Peril’ is a new body of work exploring the impact and influence of mining and immigration on the Australian identity. Ron Robertson-Swann’s infamous Vault (1980) sculpture is the starting point for Lim’s performative and playful new video work, which features a gold Mao-suited ‘Ambassador’ sent back in time to the goldfields of the 1850s (through the historical theme park of today – Sovereign Hill). Inspired by the observational comedy of Jacques Tati’s Playtime, Yellow Peril takes a localised look at the evolving dynamics between Australia and China and the interconnected nature of our socio-economic future; the personal and political search for wealth and alluvial fulfillment. Large prints on gold emergency blanket depict Lim’s parents as new immigrants with the ‘Yellow Peril’ in City Square beside the artist posed as ‘Ambassador’ with a gold replica of the ‘Welcome Stranger’.
A second generation Australian of Chinese-Singaporean descent, Eugenia Lim works across installation, performance and video. Interested in how nationalism and stereotypes are formed, Lim invents personas to explore the tensions of an individual within society – the alienation and belonging in a globalised world. Conflations between authenticity, mimicry, natural, man-made, historical and anachronistic are important to the work. To this end, Lim finds inspiration in sites and objects that are both ‘contemporary’ and ‘out of time’, embodied and virtual. Model homes, suburban sprawl, CCTV, online chat rooms, fake food, historical parks and the Australian landscape have all featured in the work. Counterpoint to these sites, Lim has performed the identities of Japanese hikikomori; a Bowie-eyed rock star; the cannibal Issei Sagawa; a suburban beautician; Miranda from Picnic at Hanging Rock and currently, a gold Mao-suited ‘Ambassador’. This dialogue between place and performance reflects the push-pull between Australian and Asian, the mono and the multi-cultural.
Lim’s work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the Tate Modern, GOMA, ACMI, HUN Gallery NY, and FACT Liverpool. She has received a number of Australia Council for the Arts grants and residencies, including a residency at the Experimental Television Centre NY and exchange at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In 2015-16, Lim is working towards the publication of Woman’s Work: a room of one’s own, an artist book exploring contemporary feminism and architectures. In addition to her practice, she co-directed the inaugural Channels: the Australian Video Art Festival, is a board member at Next Wave, the editor of Assemble Papers and co-founded Tape Projects.