Art and design exhibitions in Singapore: "The Evolution of Eian & Eien" by Aiman at Art Porters Gallery
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Art Porters Gallery Presents "The Evolution of Eian & Eien" by Aiman

In his second solo exhibition, the Singaporean artist challenges us to break through our constructed boundaries and consider what it really means to coexist
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The great American poet Walt Whitman believed that the key to human perfection was an awareness of universal interconnectedness. Maybe he didn’t see the Internet coming, but one could describe the digital portal in his words as a source of “join’d unended links” where we are “each hook’d to the next, each answering all, each sharing the earth with all”. 

So in a world where we are so connected, why are we still so divided? In his second solo exhibition, "The Evolution of Eian & Eien", Singaporean artist Aiman challenges us to break through our constructed boundaries and consider what it really means to coexist. 

The LASALLE graduate’s take on interconnectedness is presented through his paintings’ subjects: conjoined twins of different genders and races, the result of a biological evolution that is not as unlikely as we may think. These anatomically modern humans live in a parallel existence from ours, where they possess the power to travel through time portals. 

That explains the wealth of Easter eggs to be found across Aiman’s fantastical paintings: classical statues, familiar symbols and pop culture references that all mark a different point in time and yet, disorientingly, exist on the same plane. 

Unbounded by time, space and that growing list of labels that we use to categorize ourselves in modern society, perhaps Aiman’s paintings are a closer representation of Whitman’s idea of universal interconnectedness. And, just maybe, you can catch a glimpse of the perfection that the poet dreamed of in those very paintings.

Below, Aiman gives us a deeper insight into his new artworks.

 

Can you tell us more about your second solo exhibition, The Evolution of Eian & Eien? How did the series come about?

I actually dreamt of the first painting. In the dream, I had a vision of someone throwing flowers to someone else, and the flowers went through different portals. I woke up and thought to myself: “This is a beautiful visual.” I didn’t remember everything at once, just little bits and pieces here and there. I tried to research more about my dream to make it into a painting later. One of the key ideas was that basically, when you give someone flowers, you’re giving them a part of yourself. It’s the whole idea of giving and receiving; it’s kind of like a balanced duality. 

 

What is the significance of the name of your exhibition? 

One of the things that I remembered from the dream was the name “Eian”. I researched it and learned that it’s both a Hebrew and a Japanese name. In Hebrew, it’s more of a male name that means “God is gracious”, while in Japanese it means “eternity” and it’s linked to a female name. I liked that the name represented a balance between male and female, as well as the Asian and Western worlds, so I decided to go with that.

Would you say that the paintings from this series represent your idea of a perfect world? Do you think perfection is attainable? 

I think we’re always trying to achieve perfection. At the same time, I wanted to paint something that is quite timely and relevant. In the world we live in now, there are a lot of segregations in society. With the depiction of conjoined twins in my paintings, I wanted to put into perspective what it would be like if you had to live with another person who is completely different from you and there was no escape. I want to challenge your perception on identity and make you consider how much acceptance and tolerance you’ll need to live in that kind of world. 

 

Your subjects from the future appear to be very much made of flesh and bone. Does that mean you’re optimistic that we won’t be overtaken by artificial intelligence and robots, despite their rise in our present world?

I think artificial intelligence will make things easier for us but emotional intelligence is something that A.I. can never really take over. That’s the distinction between robots and human beings; I believe that what it takes to be human will still stay the same in a hundred years.

"I wanted to put into perspective what it would be like if you had to live with another person who is completely different from you and there was no escape. I want to challenge your perception on identity and make you consider how much acceptance and tolerance you’ll need to live in that kind of world."

pictured: “When you don’t trust your own reflection, don’t blindly follow the sound of the Mountain Blue Bird” (2018), oil on canvas

Why are you fascinated by fairytale narratives?

I think what interests me is that they’re essentially the same stories; they are parallel to one another. You have episodes in your life that you can relate to those stories or the Bible or Greek mythology. They’re the same realities but in a different magnitude. These are lessons that you’ve already lived through. I don’t know whether the fact that the stories already exist actually affects our current reality because you’re kind of following a blueprint. I like depicting portals in my work because it’s like a presentation of different time zones that tell the same stories. 

 

For someone who is obsessed with fantasy and a “dreamlike world”, your paintings tend to be in very realistic style. Is there a reason for this?

I wouldn’t say they’re realistic more than they are representational of things that people won’t have to think too much to understand. It’s easier when it’s something that already exists and then you try to work with that. People can relate to it in a more realistic way, as opposed to thinking of it as a fantasy. It’s like a visual language. I always want people to be able to relate to the work. 

Who are your artistic influences?

I’ve always loved Paul Klee’s art. As macabre as they might seem, his creations are always intriguing and they foster critical thinking.

 

What comes next after this exhibition?

I’ll be working on a couple of commissions after the exhibition and will be showing at Art Stage Jakarta with Art Porters as well. I’m also currently working with an established L.A. artist for a collaboration that will be unveiled early next year.

 

pictured: “Don’t just wake me up when its Spring, for I want to watch the leaves fall, and experience the snow melting away, before watching the flowers bloom again” (2018), oil on canvas

“The Evolution of Eian & Eien” will run from 16 May to 15 August 2018 at Art Porters Gallery, 64 Spottiswoode Park Road, 10.30 am to 7 pm daily.

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