2 December, 2017–25 February, 2018
LUKE HENG solo exhibtion
Singapore—Pearl Lam Galleries is pleased to present After Asphodel, a solo exhibition by emerging Singaporean artist Luke Heng (b. 1987) at the Gillman Barracks. Known chiefly for his alluring visual examinations of painting as a subject and medium, the new works on show mark the evolution of Heng’s practice as he ventures beyond the realms of two-dimensional and wall-based sculptural art. These ephemeral evocations include paintings, wax works, and, for the first time, a site-specific installation.
A prickling curiosity about the afterlife has expanded into the artist’s latest series of works that explore the idea of liminality and transience. While the pursuit of the unknown is often betwixt and between, the literal construction of the non-place has directed this latest body of work, which is themed around impermanence and transcendental space. Alluding to the white asphodel flower and its association with death and the ethereal, this exhibition is a reflexive investigation of thresholds and the fluid psyche.
The Non-Place series of oil on linen paintings is a progression from Heng’s earlier minimalist endeavours. By shifting lines within the visual frame, depth and perspective are introduced to build what the artist refers to as a “resting space” for the mind. Inspired by the spatial concept of a shrine, Heng invites audiences to take astral residence in his painterly suggestions of expanse. The immersion of the self in the vivid blues and diaphanous whites activates the otherwise “empty” paintings, which under close inspection reveals the artist’s seamless pouring technique. Distinctive brush-like strokes, which are actually lines made via reduction, work in tandem with varying shades of colour to create a rhythmic pulse across the room.
A departure from his sculptural wax paintings, Heng’s newest standalone wax works on mild steel are renderings of the slow burn of time. The artist’s repeated compression of shaved wax—a transitional state usually antecedent to casting—creates a perceivably solid structure that teases its vulnerable reality. Made from materials reactive to their surrounding environment, the works present an elusive existence between the fixed and the malleable.
Referencing Jacob’s ladder, Heng will produce his first site-specific installation, which negotiates the connection between his personal experiences and the work’s implied morality. Informed by his painting background, he explores continuity of space and structural forms in this installation.
After Asphodel presents an immersive environment built on shifting intellectual and emotional states within Heng’s paintings and sculptural works, becoming a refuge for neutrality and contemplation.
Non-Place (#3), 2017
188 x 165 cm x 2; 74 x 65 in. x 2
Composition No. 15, 2016
67.5 x 48.5 x 2.5 cm; 26 5/8 x 19 1/8 x 1 in.