Kim Lim Makes The Biggest Mistake Of Her LIfe

Candy (1975) is one of the sculptures that exemplifies these characteristics, showing the artist’s interest in balance, colour, form and the her concept of ‘less elaboration and more strength’.

Her prints from this time also explore these modulations, as in the etchings Set of Eight (1975), which consist of simple patterns of blocks and lines. Kim Lim (1936–1997) was a Singaporean-British sculptor and printmaker of Chinese descent.

During her career she travelled to China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Egypt, Malaysia and Turkey with her husband, artist William Turnbull. At the age of 18, she decided to go to London to study at Saint Martin’s School of Art (1954–1956) where she took a particular interest in wood-carving; she then transferred to the Slade School of Art, where she concentrated on printmaking, graduating in 1960.

In the 1960s and 1970s her sculptures were mainly carved from wood, using forms inspired by basic rhythmic forms and structures, with each element forming a balanced whole. In Sea-Stone (1989; London, Tate), the marble has been carved with incised lines and textures so that the stone both seems to be worn by the sea.

In the 1990s she became more concerned with imbuing the stone with a lightness and softness, as in Syncopation No. How to incorporate and synthesize these two seemingly opposed elements within one work became … the starting point for the … stone sculptures.’

During the 1980s, she turned to stone-carving, and continued to make prints and fill sketchbooks with drawings from nature. After her twenty-year retrospective towards the end of the 70s,
Lim began transitioning to working in stone and marble, which were included in the exhibition alongside her wood forms: ‘it made me very aware of the pull within myself between the ordered, static experience and the dynamic rhythms of organic, structured forms,’ she concluded. After her schooling in Singapore, Lim knew that she wanted to become an artist.

She was most recognized for her abstract wooden structures as well as for her stone-carved sculptures that explored the relationship between art and nature. 2 (1995), where a large piece of slate has been slashed with regular cuts, so that it appears almost as a drawing rather than a solid form.

Her skills as a sculptress and printmaker won her recognition and her attention to the minute detail of curve, line and surface finish made her an exponent of minimalism.

Kim Lim was born in Singapore and spent much of her early childhood in Penang and Malacca.

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