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The Banquet

AMIEN, produced by Kelly Limerick

Solo Exhibition

8 - 16 July 2023, 11am - 7pm

Presenting his first solo exhibition, Singaporean artist AMIEN (Damien Soh) unveils 11 new paintings that
beckon us into an alternate Universe where a great feast is in motion.

A culmination of AMIEN’s 18 years of
practice in both traditional and digital mediums specialising in portraiture and world-building, The Banquet
emits an almost audible bustle in the life that thrums within the frames. Amidst the heated discourse
surrounding A.I.-generated art, the artist hopes to shine a light on the importance of relishing the process of
creation. Forms and details are gently coaxed out of abstractions of colour, bringing AMIEN’s curious beings
into realisation.

A reflection of the routines and rituals we make ourselves go through in everyday life, AMIEN’s banquet is
a performance held together by each character’s stoic enactment of their roles, as if by clockwork. While
an unidentified presence seems to permeate the scene in a muffling silence, threatening to pull their world
apart, they are determined to ignore it, and march ahead in a deliberate trance. Despite the otherworldly
features of his characters, their uncanny resemblance to our own faces urges us to discover our own inner
needs and fears.

AMIEN’s obsessive pursuit to capture light and the sensitivities of the human face is clear in his artistic
practice, yet it takes on a new dimension in this series with the development of the Universe in which his
characters live. Evolving from his usual style of still portraiture where the persona is in central focus, the
artist now attempts to spy on them in an instantaneous sliver of life; in action. The result is a scene that
you could almost smell or hear, one that could be moving if you glanced away for a second; and in that, a
familiarity and empathy for these once foreign characters dawn upon us.

What would a banquet be, if without food? Experimenting with an alternative mode of presentation,
ceramicist Rei Minagawa and woodworker Liuyang of Un Studio, printmaker Derrick Ng, paper conservator
Mandy Tan, web technologist Siah, and finally the genre-defying musician weish were invited to create works
in response to AMIEN’s artworks, bringing a physicality to this fantastical Universe. A playful poke at the
ongoing infatuation with digital possessions– but also acknowledging the importance of balance between
digital and physical– the bizarre dishes come into being with AR (Augmented Reality), sitting in customised
ceramic vessels though they remain only symbols to be consumed. The inclusion of other hand-crafted
elements and an immersive musical experience highlights the importance of being present in this space, a
marriage between the digital and physical realm.

About the Artist(s)

Damien Soh (b.1988), more popularly known as AMIEN, is a visual artist based in Singapore. His artworks are distinct with their dream-like quality and touches of surrealism, giving birth to a fantasy Universe filled with characters both familiar and unknown.

AMIEN’s creations stem from an alternate reality existing within his mind, built upon his experience growing up in Singapore– a city both highly modern yet filled with traditional and oriental influences. Preferring to draw from his subconscious instead of pictorial references, he begins his paintings by blobbing abstractions of colour, making use of pareidolia to perceive patterns before refining them with obsessive technicality arising from his years of teaching and practising in both traditional and digital mediums.

With a specialty in conceptualising new worlds and portraiture, AMIEN’s portfolio has seen a focus on digital paintings in recent years. He has also dabbled in alternative forms of presentation, such as a triptych printed on skateboards commissioned by Wise Singapore. In 2018, he received widespread recognition for the conceptualisation and execution of a short animation feature titled Pagoda of Peril for Universal Studios Singapore as the Lead Illustrator.

Currently, his work considers the juxtaposition of traditional rituals in the frontier of a digital age, a reflection of the city he resides in. Where superstition still lives in the little altars by the street, mired in the tall shadows of a cityscape; is there a space for stories to come through?

About the Producer
Taking up the role of a producer for the first time, Singaporean artist Kelly Limerick’s current foray into production and writing endeavours to shine a light on artists in the undercurrent, especially those with a focus on craft and technicality, as well as linking up artisans and artists to explore different mediums in presentation. Kelly often travels to visit art shows and festivals internationally, and is invigorated by a wide variety of mediums outside her personal practice.

In 2019, Kelly worked as a staff member of the NPO Setouchi Koebi Network, which assists in the running of the Setouchi International Art Festival. Having first encountered the festival as a volunteer in 2016, she developed an interest in public art and involving the community in producing and running art-related programmes. Her capabilities in connecting with people and speaking three languages (English, Mandarin, Japanese) were essential in her role, managing international volunteers and art production alongside international artists.

Kelly co-founded a skill-sharing collective known as the School of Common Understanding (SCU) in 2019. With the goal of bringing together different disciplines into unexpected collaborations, the collective focuses on sharing and elevating skills and expertise. The first testing phase culminated in a group exhibition hosted by Grassroots Bookroom (SG) in Jan - Mar 2020, where each creative presented an artwork that was a combination of the medium they specialised in, and the new one learnt from another creative within the group.

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