Wayne Wang-Jie Lim, Singapore / Netherlands

Residency Period: August 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017


Bio

Incidentally conceived in China, raised in Singapore, Wayne Wang-Jie Lim is an art practitioner working and living in Amsterdam. Since 2009, he had exhibited and presented in shows at various venues, from the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (ICAS), Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (CCA), to the Singapore Art Museum. He was awarded the Winston Oh Travel Research Award in 2013 for a research in Hong Kong, a writer-in-residence at maumau Art Space in Istanbul, Turkey in 2015 and most recently part of a research-residency project co-funded by the Creative Europe Program of the EU, called “Understanding Territoriality” at Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, Italy.

He is currently pursuing his MA at the Dutch Art Institute as a recipient of the Non-EU scholarship grant from ArtEZ Institute of the Arts. His current inquiry focuses on geopolitics, language, philosophy and history in relation to art and hence, experiments with formats that are not the conventional, such as, travelogues, thinking and the writerly.

URL: waynewjlim.com Instagram


On-hiatus Proposal Summary

During his BA studies, Wayne was drafted into the army for mandatory military service that brought a two-year halt to his “practice” — he practically made/produced nothing, and participated in a few minor exhibitions for which he only showed old works he had done in school. Instead, he read a lot, and in retrospect, “prepared” for his final year after his obligatory service ended. This was the first time he questioned what an “artistic practice” meant.

When he returned to finish his degree, he could no longer make art in the way he used to, and his production shifted to a focus on researching and writing, making strategic plans on practicing at the fringe of what can be called “art” before spending only a short couple months at actually producing the “artworks”. Though a national arts body has funded his projects and exhibitions, he is not recognized officially as an artist under the institutions’ national framework of what constitutes artistic practice. This simultaneously “insider / outsider” state has further led him to his current research.

As Wayne begins his hiatus, he will also be working towards his graduate degree, where his thesis-research explores the notion of “non-position/location”. He feels that this timing will prompt him to really ask himself how he could “nourish” himself and re-strategize his artistic practice in order to benefit from the artworld’s infrastructure/institutions but not be subsumed into the wider agenda of neoliberalism and nationalistic rhetoric as a contemporary art producer or a cultural and knowledge producer. He hopes to investigate alternative modes of art production with an ultimate goal of infiltrating the arts market from the peripherals while being completely non-positional and ambiguous. Or practically, what he has to do in order to survive as an artist in a way that will also afford him a comfortable living -- and not like a "poor artist".

During his residency at RFAOH, he primarily wants to spend time on brooding over the function of his “art” and his “practice”. He plans to use the stipend “for nourishment” by purchasing books and organizing a reading group, putting food on his table, paying for his website domain, buying a hashtag on his Instagram account, paying an exorbitant amount for a VIP ticket to an art fair to look at art-for-sale, etc. He also plans to routinely write and perhaps finally learn how to use Instagram to “market” his non-art/borderline art activities.


Final Report

What do I think about when I don't think? As I round up my last few beautiful days in the outskirts of Seoul before I have to head off to Beijing to reunite with my family for a well-deserved vacation, a defiant North Korean missile was fired at 6am this morning, and it landed in the sea not far from Hokkaido, Japan. While the US is conducting its 'regular’ — often unapologetic — military exercise with the South Koreans military, I am sitting here opening, closing, and reopening this report, contemplating — or even procrastinating — about I can possibly write.

“What am I doing here?”, is a question I routinely pose myself. I now wonder if my relentless pursuit of the never-ending “here’s” is perhaps too disruptive. In the same vein, I can’t seem to know where I want to be; except knowing where I do not want to be. It’s an excuse I sometimes use to cover up my escapism. On a different note, while noting the political context of the Korean Peninsula (or the nature of conflicts), I have been rethinking the difference between presence and occupation. It questions not just the essentialism of identity and place — if not nationalism, and the rhetorics of the nationstate — how else and what other ways to justify the existence of being/the conception of statehood. Where is the “inside” and/or the “outside”?

A year ago, I applied mainly with the intention to understand my own practice, and perhaps to find a “direction in my life”, in regards to being simultaneously, an "insider" and an "outsider" of where I come from. The combination of my trajectory at the Dutch Art Institute and RFAOH have certainly pushed my practice into a more theoretical, and political direction/place. With that in mind, it is, therefore, important to think, and employ strategies that bring about higher agency in one's (artistic) practice. Although my initial research premise relating to my thesis have changed — from a "non-position/location" to the "hyperrestrained order" — it nevertheless helped me to understand better my position or role (and even the escapism), and my relationship with the state (Singapore), that changes from being a citizen, a soldier, to an "artist" (as an occupation). I have seen this process as a crucial development — as a theoretical inquiry, and the understanding of the previous — in relation to my art practice. During my hiatus, I have learnt to bring research-traveling-writing to the forefront of my practice — not entirely inclined to the notion of producing artworks as the 'only' way of art-making. Ironically, I believe this journey — of art and life — will/can never truly be on a “hiatus”. If one is practicing life (thinking about Tehching Hsieh's talk), can we say or consider art as the medium of life, while life never stops, and art nourishes life?

The “here” now is post-hiatus. I am excited about what Beijing can I offer me, as well as what I can learn from this potential move. “Post-hiatus” is, so to speak, actually getting over an ex-lover, and confronting some fears I had the past couple years; anxieties and insecurities, where I don’t just ask myself the purpose of my existence at a physical location. It is about living through it, making decisions even if I won’t be liking it, whether its on life, art or love.


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recent comments

On Jul 1 2017, Wayne Lim commented on Back to Life: Hi Shinobu, you're right! Thanks for reminding me about the positive things! And, I am so glad we go[...]

On Jul 1 2017, co-director(s) commented on Back to Life: Congratulations Wayne for finishing both school and RFAOH residency!!! (How ironic that is ;P) You [...]

On Apr 10 2017, Wayne Lim commented on Touristing the United States/But Let's Call This an Airport Rating: Oh I can't imagine how much worse it could get in the snow storms! It's a good lesson. I should alwa[...]

On Apr 10 2017, Lee commented on Touristing the United States/But Let's Call This an Airport Rating: This is terrible! I have a love/hate relationship to travelling. I do most of my air travel in Canad[...]

On Apr 2 2017, Wayne Lim commented on From Brussels to Mechelen, Mexico City to New York City: @S No discussion needed (it is exactly how I described it "pseudo-work-study-trip" :P)!! Hahaha! But[...]


Say it Straight, Simple and with a Smile

Just going home and #takingcare #fuckworktoday “Say it straight, simple and with a smile.” 🙂 #takingcare #yogitea #amsterdamkanal #notart #notartresidency #wayneonhiatus #rfaoh

The past week has been an awful battle with myself (and perhaps with you) again and it’s not over. But what is this, really? This struggle and discontent that I’m facing now; post-breakup, the artist’s condition, the effects of capitalism, the state… Or just, thinking too much? 2016 took a huge toll on my mental health. Since my last episode in Madrid, I have been relatively okay until last week. I want to cry every time I talk to someone about my problems/issues because it hurts so much inside. My thoughts are so quick and far and I cannot keep up. I admit that I have known my problems for a few years now but only recently being confronted by them because I lost the person whom I love very much and could connect with me on this level, guiding me and holding me through. For the past two years, I’ve been trying to understand (and trying at the same time) to just, stay afloat, alone. 

Most of the time, it’s the problem of being unable to channel out my thoughts (those big ones — philosophical ones — in relation to art and politics, life, people, etc.) and being disenchanted and desolated by things and the state of order around me. This has caused me my ability to even grasp simple things in life and I want to grasp simpleness of life, I do. 

Last night, my friend said that I’m always in either the past or too far in the future — never here and now. She continues to say that for the time that she has known me, she never saw me happy and I lack emotional intelligence despite being an emotional person. She had said so much more, although not as a critique on my personality. I can’t help feeling a certain degree of helplessness and a need to seek for support from friends and family from time to time. It is certainly okay to be not okay. 

“Nocturnes, Op. 55: No. 1 in F Minor” from Chopin: Nocturnes by Arthur Rubinstein.

You used to tell me to smile more because I’m too dead serious for anyone — too inaccessible and too unapproachable. I must have forgotten to smile lately because I don’t even know how to anymore. 


This post was supposed to be a rather lengthy one but I think I lost what I could say because there’s so much to say.

Leave a Comment (6)

Wayne Lim wrote on Feb 16:

Hey Marisa, thanks for the little encouragement/reminder.

Shinobu, sounds like quite a fascinating day job you got there and yes, you're making sense. I just delivered a I-suppose-successful presentation on Monday about the "risk" I talked about some posts earlier. I was telling my friend last night how people only want to hear plights, hardships, and sufferings of others. I don't want to overstate the innate struggles of being an artist, writer, thinker and all other peripheral pursuits but why does it have to be at the expense of our mental and physical being and psychological health?

I think the world needs a hiatus. Franco "Bifo" Berandi was just at my school last week and he talked about empathy. He often throws the idea of "any possibility of another world" outside the window because it is hard to not go to the extreme when this is the way it is right now. Last year, I talked a lot about ambivalence and ambiguity in my writings. It is inherently impossible to think about the previous two properties without empathy. Since without sharing feelings, you cannot have mixed feelings, and without mixed feelings, you cannot be ambiguous.

Closing with what Berandi said the other day at a lecture, "depression is the dangerous relation with truth!"

marisa wrote on Feb 11:

my best advice has always been:
"life is long and the world is large"

yes, you need to be in the "here and now",
butt when the here and the now aren't helping,
I think it is nice to remember that there is more to come:
Great things beyond your expectations.

Good luck!

co-director (s) wrote on Feb 8:

Hi Wayne, it's me again.
We are happy to hear that. But never feel obliged to post reports when/if you can't for whatever the reason. We know life is more important than art and nonart.
One thing I wanted to add here was my own long personal inquiry related to yours. Besides all the hardships in life that everyone goes through such as death, illnesses, breakups, I've pondered our uneasy choice of being in the arts which could induce an even greater existential crisis, knowing that there's really no demand for our endeavour/production, ultimately done for our own needs. I believe in art but not the virtue of art per se, to service others or change the world (which of course is entirely possible but I'm actually suspicious of the popularization of some art phenomena such as art fairs/biennales supposedly conceived to achieve that purpose -- another topic for another time). And particularly when you want to practice art as a vehicle to talk about things beyond art in a means harder to get monetary renumeration back for, that's another strain -- it has taken me a long time to come to terms with all this dilemma but first I arrived at the age that I realized I don't have so much time left before my retirement (; (I bite my nails lots though)
I think we need a hiatus. I think it's good to think about art outside the framework of art or do other things to nurture more empathy towards others (like the people with certain jobs say, nursing). But on the other hand, when you are super focused on stuff like art for the sake of art and are indifferent about any business of others' that often motivate the kinds of judgements harmful for the world, it's also effective. For my day job, I've been translating oral history archives of people from the Fluxus time, some of who went through the end of WWII, when they just wanted to do their bloody art and music and thus naturally hated the politics which prevented it. It is kind of refreshing to read their self-absorption and dis-interest that separated them from the rest of the world. I don't know if I'm making any sense but that's where we and RFAOH come from -- a paradox, conundrum, and ambivalence where no one can pin us down, like art and nonart (; And of course, we'll all keep in touch, as you have seen us do so with our ex-residents. Take care

Wayne Lim wrote on Feb 6:

Hello directors, quite frankly, RFAOH has turned out to be more important that I initially envisioned it to be. I enjoy being here that's without a doubt. I'm going to continue this diarist-writerly practice even after I finish my stint here. Would be nice if you guys continue to show support!

I think the misery has always been there and greatly intensified ever since I started practicing full-time (and my break up). I'm also not saying that I'm destined to be miserable but at the moment I'm simply trying to understand my condition (also the artists' condition and the human condition) and seek help if I can/need to.

I know I should emphasize to myself the importance of the here/now. I just cannot believe how much effort I'm putting to do that and I feel like giving up or I don't even think about the here/now most of the time.

I hope with whatever that is currently going on around the world — the political instability, the precariousness, the never-ending crises — we should not just take care of ourselves (only), but take care of others to take care of oneself, extend and reach out in order to rebuild and restore faith in the era of political decay...

co-director (s) wrote on Feb 6:

Hi Wayne. Thank you for sharing this, it's extremely generous. Whether or not it's helping to distract you a bit, or even doing anything to you in some small way, I hope you like being here with us. I must agree that people in the arts, the deep thinkers, are not the happiest bunch. (I'm including my own personal case too). But that's how it goes, I feel. We are or we aren't. We try to stay afloat in the meandering paths of consciousness and conscience while thinking deep about everything, which is tough and feels weirdly unfair. (: But I think there are ways, even though they are highly personal. I hope we all find them. Or help each other find them. (PS: your image is beautiful btw)

co-director (m) wrote on Feb 5:

The artist's condition or the human condition? Its good (and important) to talk to people about these things Wayne, to get things off your chest, or as a way to organize your feelings into a form (language) that can then be more easily comprehended, re-imagined etc. I'm with your friend in valuing the importance of being present in the here/now, which doesn't always miraculously make things better but perhaps allows us to recognize it as part/process of being alive, to let these types of sadness wash over and pass us instead of wrestling against them. Take care of yourself. It IS ok to not be ok. Let us know if you need anything. Love this Chopin track.