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Hannah Lim

Wilder Gallery presents ‘Bestiaries’ a solo exhibition by the London-based artist, Hannah Lim. The exhibition will showcase Lim's body of work from ornamental sculptures to wall-based works, which elegantly and playfully bridges her Singaporean and British heritage through a modern reinterpretation of Chinoiserie.
Lim will showcase 10 snuff bottles and 6 paintings, drawing inspiration from Chinese mythology. Her work delves into Chinese bestiaries found in texts such as 'The Classics of Mountains and Seas' and Pu Songling’s 'Tales of a Chinese Studio.' In addition, Lim has integrated elements from Medieval bestiaries, weaving parallels between the two traditions, and merging the creatures and their narratives to form her process of sculptural storytelling.

Lim’s sculptures are vibrant and whimsical, reminiscent of the colourful architecture in Singapore. Reinterpreting the claw-like feet of chinoiserie furnishings, she equips her sculptures with hands and feet, giving them a playful anthropomorphic quality.

At the heart of Lim's work is a deep-rooted exploration of identity. Drawing from her mixed Singaporean and British heritage, she delves into the historical intersections of these cultures, particularly as reflected in furniture, objects, and architectural designs. Lim's intrigue with Chinoiserie, an 18th-century design trend that melded Chinese aesthetics with European tastes, results in sculptures that reclaim this cultural mosaic with both consciousness and creativity.

Furthermore, Lim's engagement with Anne Anlin Cheng's 'Ornamentalism' punctuates her artworks. This feminist theory, which delves into the portrayal of East/South East Asian femininity as inherently ornamental, resonates powerfully with Lim's own examinations of identity. For Lim, the over - ‘ornamentalisation’ or flamboyance of her work has become a way of pushing against fixed notions of identity and race that are often a point of confusion and struggle for those who come from mixed cultural backgrounds.

Lim has previously had solo exhibitions at renowned spaces including Edinburgh Printmakers and Huxley-Parlour gallery, and has featured in group exhibitions with The Royal Scottish Academy and Bloomberg New Contemporaries. Following her recent commission for the Tate Collective, Lim is currently Pangolin London’s artist in residence for 2022-2023.

‘The works in the show are ornamental, creaturely, animistic and intricate - inspired by my research into Chinese and Medieval Bestiaries as well as imagery and objects that have become symbols of my heritage.’ Hannah Lim

‘The striking colour, form and symbolism in Hannah's work speaks eloquently and uniquely of her mixed cultural identity and heritage. The works reflect a hybridised East-West aesthetic and touch upon ideas of colonialism and appropriation. For example, the colour palette and decorative elements in the works reference the Peranakan aesthetic, which takes influences from Chinese, Malay and Western influences. They also reference Singapore shophouses, which are characteristically pastel and candy coloured and were built during the colonial era. On a personal level, having grown up in Singapore and being part Singaporean myself, I find a deep resonance with Hannah's explorations into the complexities of multicultural and Eurasian identity and belonging. It not only aligns with my own experiences but also evokes a poignant touch of childhood nostalgia.’ Michelle Lee Medjeral-Thomas, Gallery Director


23 January - 14 February 2023


Hannah Lim (British / Singapore) b.1998

Foundation Diploma Art and Design, Central Saint Martins
BA Hons Sculpture, Edinburgh College of Art, The University of
MFA, Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford


Solo and Duo Shows:
Solo show with Denny Gallery, Hong Kong (upcoming solo)
The Tiger’s Gaze, Huxley-Parlour, London, 2022 (solo)
Ornamental Mythologies, Edinburgh Printmakers, Edinburgh, 2022 (solo)
In the Margins, Commonage Projects, London, 2022 (solo)
Inanimate Creatures, Changing Room Gallery, London, 2022 (solo)
Tigers and Dragons and Ghosts Oh My!, Dinner Gallery, New York, 2022
Parts of Self with Courtenay Welcome, Home by Ronan McKenzie x Cob
Gallery Residency Show, London, 2021 (duo)
Porta Sancta with Hugo Harris, Underground Flower x Harlesden High
Street, 2021 (duo)

Group Shows:
British Art Fair with Royal Scottish Academy, Saatchi Gallery, 2022
Eat Drink, Man Woman, 180 The Strand, London, 2022
Red Room, Berntson Bhattacharjee, London, 2022
Bloomberg New Contemporaries, London, 2021/2022
RSA New Contemporaries, Royal Scottish Academy, 2022
Next, Christies, 2022
Into the Fire, Grove Collective, London, 2022
Konomad, Tokyo, 2022
Dirt and Desire, K.Halstead, London, 2021
Mouth Parts, St Margrets House, 2021
Under Your Spell, Collective Ending, London, 2021
Zao Tang, Local Collective x Stigma, London, 2021
The Factory Project, Delphian Gallery, 2021
Origin, Delphian Gallery, London, 2021
The Holy Grail, OHSH Projects, 2021
Final, Not Over - Again, Unit One Gallery, 2021
From a Safe Distance, Raen Barnsley x Auction Collective, 2021
The Graduates: Four Pillars, Tatha Gallery, 2021
Year of the OX, Steamroom East / Don’t Call me Oriental, London, 2021
Wretched Light Industry, Serving the People, supported by Creative
Scotland, New York, 2020 Pending, San Mei Gallery, Brixton, 2020
After Hours, Harlesden High Street x Bowes Parris Gallery, 2020
Unmuted, Sky Arts, 2020.
Museum of Half Truths, 1a Space, Hong Kong, 2020
EXH 04, Floorr Magazine, 2020
Maggies x ArtThou No Borders Initiative, ArtThou, Scotland, 2020 PATIO-
PROJECT, Georgia Stephenson, London, 2020
A THESISSS SHOW, Something Special Studios, New York, 2020
RSA Annual Exhibition, Edinburgh, 2020
Dreams, Grapevine Residency, 2020
Space Invaders: RCA X ECA Exchange, Sculpture Court, 2020
The Potion Room, Subsidiary Projects, 2020
Buffering, Sculpture Court, Edinburgh College of Art, 2020
RCA x ECA sculpture exchange, Royal College of Art, 2019
Yerzel, Edinburgh College of Art, 2019
Kubla Khan, Safehouse 1, Peckham, 2019
Astaire Art Prize, Edinburgh College of Art, 2019
Butter on Bacon, Hospitalfield House, 2019
Material Dialogues, Fire Station, Lauriston Place, 2019
Criss Cross (performance), HengTang, Chengdu, 2018

Selected Press
Architectural Digest:
Floorr Magazine:
Hype Beast:
New Contemporaries:
It’s Nice That:
Unmuted, SKY ARTS, December 2020

Selected Talks, Educational and Design work:
Group talk on The Teapot Prince - with Edmund de Waal and Matt Smith,
The University of Oxford, 2022
20:20, talk at The Royal Scottish Academy, 2022
Flat Pack Design - Writing for The Museum of Half Truths, 2021
Respect Our Elders, digital artworks designed for Boiler Room and Eastern
Margins livestream, 2021
In Conversation On Technology, talk supported and organised by Fuse, Red
Eye and Short Supply, 2021

Hannah Lim
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