The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) and Credit Suisse present you 2012′s installation of the fruit of their contemporary art collaboration. Seeker of Hope: Works by Jia Aili is an emotionally intense, thought-provoking series of art work that brings to one’s attention the personal reflections on post-millenium changes in China and art in the globalised world, underscoring the underlying result of technological advancements and globalisation. The exhibition showcases close to 50 original artwork done by Jia Aili himself, without the help of any assistants, and it includes epic-scale, visually stunning oil paintings, video installations and delicate paper works.
Born in 1979, into a time of rapid economic reforms and a year after the one-child policy, Jia expresses his paintings and his deep feelings as a young Chinese growing up in the 80s, with no political baggage, yet wrapped in loneliness and solitude. His visually stunning landscapes, with their mysterious masked figures astronauts and space crafts, are in a sense allegories about the challenges of modernity – both its exhilarating energy as well as its threat to tradition and our sense of security.
This presence of figures protected by gas masks or helmets in his works plays a cautionary role about the always present possibility of the decay of humanity caused by relentless life credo of materialism – a very real aspect of contemporary life that many of us would rather shove under the rug. Using a seductive visual imagery, Jia’s works broadly explores themes and ideas of not only technological and scientific advancements and the costs of industrialization, but also goes into the soft and sensitive world of human mortality and death.
It is nearly impossible for one to miss the sense of distraught and anger brought to the surface of the visceral mind by looking at the art pieces. These emotionally-charged authentic works of art are laden with the unmistakable sense of human fragility. Nevertheless, the protagonists in this beautiful series painted by Jia Aili are held up by the traces of possible salvation that lingers in the afterthought.
Complementing Seeker of Hope is a parallel exhibition Lyrical Abstraction: Works by Jeremy Sharma & Yeo Shih Yun which features large-scale works created by two Singaporean contemporaries. Sharma’s Kurosawa is an abstract work made up of mainly white and black washes achieved by pouring paint on aluminium panels, heavily inspired by Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa films. Yeo’s Conversation with Trees is a mixed-media installation that reflects her ‘dialogue’ with trees; resulting in silkscreened prints created from the natural swaying of brushes dipped in Chinese ink and tied to tree branches and of which were digitally processed and recomposed into an expansive landscape reminiscent of a traditional Chinese ink landscape painting.
Seeker of Hope: Works by Jia Aili and Lyrical Abstraction: Works by Jeremy Sharma & Yeo Shih Yun run from 6 July to 23 September 2012 at SAM.