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Charles Lim: ‘It’s very easy to see the sea as a sublime space where you can even find God’
With his sailing background, Charles Lim explains, he sees the sea as ‘just an office’. His 10-year-old, 10-part project, Sea State, explores the biophysical, political and psychic contours of Singapore, which this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence
Sea State takes as its starting point the question of how to represent the sea. Singapore is an island state and port that grew out of a long process of land reclamation, so the sea is key to its identity, just as it is to artist and former Olympic sailor Charles Lim (b1973). His 10-year-long project grew out of a residency in Thailand, where he was introduced to the Mekong Project, looking at the river, and the 10 parts of Sea State reflect the meteorological measurements for sea conditions, ranging from calm to stormy.
The premise of Lim’s project is to invert people’s perceptions of sea and land, and it includes a barnacle-covered buoy, made as an exact replica of one that went “missing” as part of a political cleansing act; archival material and maps; photographs; a large-scale installation piece mapping Singapore’s sea floor; and film work, looking at such processes and issues as land reclamation and sand piracy.
Charles Lim: Sea State
Pavilion of Singapore
Arsenale – Sale d’Armi, Venice
9 May – 22 November 2015
Interview by ANNA McNAY
Filmed by MARTIN KENNEDY