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Kun Yi James Lim’s fantastic and truly original drawings convey intimate moments

Jan-Carlos Kucharek

Experimental, interrogative and technically skilled drawings by Kun Yi James Lim catch judges’ attention to win first place, student in 2024 Eye Line

Shall We Greet The Sun? Adobe Illustrator; Procreate,  2167 × 1750mm
Shall We Greet The Sun? Adobe Illustrator; Procreate, 2167 × 1750mm

First place, Student
Kun Yi James Lim 
National University of Singapore

Our student winner this year attempted to formalise notions of memory, fleeting moments – even loss – through the contemplative act of drawing; and while there were many entries displaying technical skill, it was the experimental and interrogative nature on display here that proved so alluring to the judges.

Lim’s Bathroom Obscura Fragments’ draws on director Vo Ahn Vu’s 2019 film short Gallery, in which ‘amid urbanisation, the lives and fates of individuals converge in a dingy washroom where dirty dishes, food waste and personal items lie scattered’. Lim’s ‘obscura fragments’ offer tantalising views of the communal bathroom, ‘transcribing excremental ephemera and cleansing rituals as multiple discrete experiences for the body in relation to its postures in a seemingly singular space’.

Chia-Yi Chou felt ‘as if cameras are showing the space only in part, as if through a peep hole; I love the way he’s been so conscious in only choosing parts of the space’. Sarah Wigglesworth added, ‘A bathroom is all to do with privacy yet these seem almost to be spying, wilfully politicising the viewpoint.’

  • Bathroom Obscura Fragments. Sketchup; Procreate, 1105 x 1310 mm
    Bathroom Obscura Fragments. Sketchup; Procreate, 1105 x 1310 mm
  • Mealtime. Adobe Illustrator; Procreate, 2074 × 2260mm
    Mealtime. Adobe Illustrator; Procreate, 2074 × 2260mm

The fragmentary technique was developed in the two further studies; Mealtime, on the passage of his dementia-suffering sous chef grandfather moving through a kitchen to monitor cooking processes, and Shall We Greet The Sun?, an ironically titled study looking at ‘the liminal moment of twilight between sunrise and sunset where the elongation of shadows carve out phantasmic figures’ which ‘can cause spectral anxieties to the Lewy Body elderly’. In both, Kucharek felt that ‘there’s a dynamic sense to the space- as if the drawing is an investigation in its own right conveying a reflective quality and atmosphere that’s about far more than just the passage of light’. Ramstad felt them ‘fantastic and truly original in both colour and composition’. 

‘The drawings convey intimate moments ... They are studies not just of light but of the human stories in its shadow,’ said Chou.

Eye Line award winning drawings from this and previous years