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Lou Lim's Horizon Turns The Ethereal Into The Tangible

Have you ever looked at the sky and wondered what was behind the horizon?

Manila-based artist Lou Lim materializes this wonder through "Horizon," a painting that gracefully turns the ethereal into the tangible.

At only 28, she has been recognized in the industry for her works depicting connections between individuals, the corporeal, and the spiritual.

The Metro.Style team got to interview during her opening night Silverlens Galleries, where her masterpiece "Horizon" is currently installed. 


Lou Lim with "Horizon," photo by Anna Cruz


What is the concept behind "Horizon?"

My whole practice evolves around one center, the body—its aspects and its relationships with the rest of the world, both the corporeal and the spiritual. So basically, "Horizon" is the continuation of my art practice. 


Lou Lim with Horizon, photo by Anna Cruz


What is the meaning behind the peeled off paint in "Horizon?"

When we look at the horizon from afar, we see a line. But in reality, the sky and earth do not actually meet. There is an invisible, formless space in between. The horizon is where our senses trace off, because it is a place we cannot reach nor touch. However, through this painting, the longing to touch and encounter something that is inaccessible and beyond the capabilities of our senses is fulfilled. That is the purpose of art—to probe the limits of the utterable; to express something that words cannot.


How long did it take you to finish this?

The painting itself took me seven months to finish, although it took me five months to conceptualize it. So one year in the making, or more.



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How did you begin your career in art?

It’s been hard for me to pursue art, but it keeps pursuing me. It’s very cheesy, but art is a calling I cannot say no to. In college, I tried to enroll in Psychology at the University of the Philippines, but failed. I did pass in another school, but my father wanted me to study in UP because, well, it's UP.

I eventually decided to take up Fine Arts in the same university. During my first three years, I kept thinking of shifting to another course, but I never did. On my fourth year in college, I failed my thesis—and that's when I fell in love with art.

Even though I was hardworking and studious, I failed the course because I was only after high grades. My failure encouraged me, and I fell in love with creating more art.

At the end, I'd like to think that my works are still related to Psychology because they tackle the mind and the body, and everything related to them.



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Can you describe your style?

My works are always different. But in retrospect, you can still connect the dots together. They have one theme: the exploration of the surface and how the surface implies something else. Surface is a very big part of my work; in fact, my undergraduate thesis was about the surface of the skin (and how it relates to skin politics, body politics, and even post colonial mentality). 



Who influences you to create?

Writers. My favorite is Michel Foucalt, who said that the purpose of the intellectual is not to propose models, but to examine institutions and ways of thinking. Basically, he encourages us to examine familiarities and question them. I also like local artists, especially those whom I know personally. 


Catch Lou Lim's solo exhibit at Silverlens Galleries, 2263 Chino Roces Ave, Makati, 1231,  Metro Manila, until January 6, 2018.