William Lim: The Architect and His Collection
William Lim (B.Arch. '81, M.Arch. '82) is founder and managing director of CL3 Architects, an architecture and interior design firm renowned for its conceptually clear and materially sensuous design ethos. Lim's work includes a number of acclaimed experimental constructions that hover between art and architecture, such as Ladders (2006), a monumental installation made of neon-lit, hand-tied bamboo ladders spanning two latticed walls presented at the 2006 Venice Biennale of Architecture; Lantern Wonderland (2011), a 37-meter-long bamboo fish crafted from thousands of traditional Chinese lanterns for the Mid-Autumn Festival in Victoria Park, Hong Kong; and Bamboo Wind Pavilion (2013), a wind chime exhibited outdoors at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center.
More than a decade ago, Lim began collecting art, with a focus on works by Hong Kong artists. Guided by his architectural training and artistic sensibilities, he followed a strategy of working directly with emerging artists, many of whom have since risen to international prominence. Lim's collection, housed in a warehouse in the Wong Chuk Hang district of Hong Kong, was opened to the public in 2015 during Art Basel Hong Kong and has since become a major destination for contemporary Asian art.
This exhibition brings together selections of William Lim's architectural work and his art collection. The architectural work includes drawings and models done while Lim was a student in the Department of Architecture, as well as several of his installation projects. The selected artists include Au Hoi Lam, Chloe Cheuk, Kwan Sheung Chi, Lee Kit, Map Office, Pak Cheung Shuen Tozer, Samson Young, Trevor Yeung, and Tsang Kin Wah. The juxtapositions made in this exhibition demonstrate the reciprocity between Lim's practice and collecting. As Lim has noted, "Design and art are very closely related — the way that I collect and the way that I look at art inform the way that I design."
Many of the artworks on display explore art as a gesture or system of dealing with loss, displacement, the unaccountable, the ephemeral, and, while doing so, function like letters addressed to the viewer. For example, Lee Kit's 1st of July (2004) is a hand-painted plaid cloth held with friends during the annual July 1 protests in Hong Kong. In its relatively mute state in contrast to political banners and signage, this piece poignantly expresses the refusal to simplify one's own conflicted position within political agendas and pronouncements. Au Hoi Lam's There was a Father (2013), which is from a series of work made in response to her father's illness and death, comes across as a meditational prayer while Tsang Kin Wah's Every Word is a Prejudice (2012) places text on the surface of aluminum, floating the words somewhere between writer and reader.
CL3 Architects is based in Hong Kong with regional offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. Currently, Lim is preparing for the launch of H Queen's, a 24-story tower in Central Hong Kong that he's designed specifically to house art galleries. He is former cochairman of Para/Site Art Space, and a member of the board of the Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong, Asia Society's Gallery Advisory Committee, as well as the Asia-Pacific Acquisitions Committee of London's Tate Modern.
This exhibition was cocurated by William Lim and Maria Park.