In The Studio: Hilmi Johandi

  • Employing motifs from found, archival images, Hilmi Johandi composites his paintings like he would a stage set, drawing from the process of collage. Playing with differing scales and segregations in space, the various planes in his works suggest a distortion in space and time, bringing about fresh perspectives of familiar symbols. We visited the artist in his studio and had a chat about his recent and ongoing bodies of work. 

     

  • Ota Fine Arts (O): Your works often refer to motifs from found images. Could you share more about the selection...

    Ota Fine Arts (O): Your works often refer to motifs from found images. Could you share more about the selection and significance of these images in your work?

     

    Hilmi Johandi (H): I like to think of the act of painting on a blank canvas as one of constructing a picture to determine a meaning… I find that this resonates well with how the found images that I refer to were made – I have been working with images that I collected from the archives, specifically postcards and posters of Singapore from around 1980’s – 90s. Although they are a kind of historical documentation of the past, they were created with the intention to portray a certain kind of beauty and pleasure, projecting a utopian ideal to consumers. I found this parallel between painting and image-making very interesting and I am exploring such further juxtapositions in my work.

     

  • O: The process of collage is very apparent in many of your paintings and video works. How does this affect...
    Installation view: "Painting Archives", Rumah Lukis, Malaysia (2019)

    O: The process of collage is very apparent in many of your paintings and video works. How does this affect the making of your works?

     

    H: For me, collage is very important – I employ this process not only to compose things together, but also to look out for certain incidents that could be embraced in the work. I often seek the unpredictable, and the process of collage widens opportunities to do so by displacing what is normally expected in the picture.

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    Installation view: "An Exposition", President’s Young Talents 2018 Exhibition, Singapore Art Museum, 8Q @SAM, Singapore (2018)
    Image courtesy of Singapore Art Museum
     
  • O: You have been exploring the idea of stagecraft in your recent series of paintings and video works. Could you share more about this?

     

    H: I have always been fascinated with the idea of image-making in relation to film and theatre. What is presented to the audience is usually seamless and polished, yet what composites them behind the scenes is often not revealed. I began to look at stagecraft – the technical aspect of theatrical production – as a way to suggest a sense of constructedness and to raise questions on existing narratives.

     

     

     

    Hilmi Johandi’s solo exhibition “Landscapes and Paradise: Poolscapes” will be held at Ota Fine Arts Tokyo in October 2021. Subscribe to our mailing list/ social media channels and stay tuned for more information!

     

    • Hilmi Johandi Tennis Court, 2020 Oil on linen 59.2 x 74 cm
      Hilmi Johandi
      Tennis Court, 2020
      Oil on linen
      59.2 x 74 cm
    • Hilmi Johandi City hall and the Old Supreme Court Building c. 1970, 2020 Oil on linen 121.7 x 152.5 cm
      Hilmi Johandi
      City hall and the Old Supreme Court Building c. 1970, 2020
      Oil on linen
      121.7 x 152.5 cm
    • Hilmi Johandi Landscapes & Paradise: Attractions and Sceneries, 2020 Oil on linen 55.5 x 71.5 cm
      Hilmi Johandi
      Landscapes & Paradise: Attractions and Sceneries, 2020
      Oil on linen
      55.5 x 71.5 cm
    • Hilmi Johandi Crystal Chandelier, 2019 Oil on linen 96 x 97.5 cm
      Hilmi Johandi
      Crystal Chandelier, 2019
      Oil on linen
      96 x 97.5 cm
  • About the artist

    Hilmi Johandi (b. 1987, Singapore) currently works and lives in Singapore. In 2018, he received the Young Artist Award from the National Arts Council of Singapore. His solo exhibitions include "Painting Archives", Rumah Lukis, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2019), "Stagecraft: Landscapes and Paradise", Ota Fine Arts, Singapore (2019), "An Exposition", President's Young Talents 2018 Exhibition, Singapore Art Museum, 8Q @SAM, Singapore (2018), "Dusk to Dawn | Fajar ke Senja", OCBC Artspace | Galerie Steph, Singapore (2014). He also participated in group exhibitions such as "Progressive Disintegrations", Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film, Singapore (2020), "Art Way ASEAN Way", Art Mill Songkhla Art Center, Thailand (2017), "Echoes I, Public Art Toride", Toride-shi, Ibaraki, Japan (2016), "Figment of Film", ADM Gallery, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2016), "Flux - City of Change", Strata Art Fair, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK (2013).

     

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