Eugenia Lim is an Australian artist who works across video, performance and installation. 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 multicultural.

Lim’s work has been exhibited, performed and screened locally and internationally at venues, festivals and fairs that include: Tate Modern, GOMA, ACMI, HUN Gallery NY, Next Wave, FACT Liverpool, 24HR Art (Darwin), Substation (Singapore), Schoolhouse Studios, Experimenta, Sydney Contemporary, Melbourne Festival, ACAF (Shanghai), TINA, Dark MOFO, Bus Projects, West Space and MPavilion.

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 2016, Lim undertook a residency at Bundanon Trust; at the studio of Shen Shaomin as a 4A Beijing Studio resident; and was artist-in-residence with the Robin Boyd Foundation.

Current projects include The Australian Ugliness, a video work exploring contemporary Australian identity and culture through its architecture and built environment; and The People’s Currency, a performance-cum-factory that explores the human impact of globalisation in the era of Foxconn. Her work is held in a number of private and public collections.

Collaboration, artistic community and the intersection between art and society informs her practice: in addition to her solo work, she co-directed the inaugural Channels: the Australian Video Art Festival, is a board member at Next Wave, the founding editor of Assemble Papers and co-founded  Tape Projects.

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Artificial Islands (Interior Archipelago)

posted on: 19 Jan 2017

11 – 27 Jan 2017
Firstdraft gallery
13-17 Riley Street Woolloomooloo, Sydney 2011
Artist talk: 27 Jan, 6-7pm

Eugenia’s new work Artificial Islands (Interior Archipelago) is showing at firstdraft until 27 Jan 2017. AI(IA) is a manufactured landscape – a sand monument replica of the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Tracing a line from the mythic (and mostly male) earthworks and conceptual artists of the ‘70s – from Robert Smithson to Bas Jan Ader – to the territorial claims and artificial geographies of the South China Seas and Dubai, AI(IA) explores the power dynamics and politics at play in making and marking space. What does it look like to represent a site, a self, a culture or a state?

As Shumon Basar writes, Dubai is a ‘City from Zero’, the ultimate site of globalisation, hyper-capital and artificial ecology. Dubai is also one of the world’s most intense building sites: 12-hour construction shifts merge into unpaid overtime, 6-7 days a week, 365 days a year – only stopping for prayer time. Who builds paradise? Artificial Islands (Interior Archipelago) is built by local workers remunerated at the average daily rate of a Dubai construction worker* under the supervision of Eugenia Lim.



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