Pearl Lam Galleries present Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, the first solo exhibition of British/Indonesian artist Sinta Tantra in Hong Kong. Tantra’s vibrant geometric paintings explore the concept of “dimensions” through the use of colour and shapes. Well regarded for her site-specific works in the public realm, Tantra combines public art elements inside the gallery space, splicing together the interior and exterior world—tentatively, fluidly, and on and off the beat.
The exhibition title Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is from the title of a satirical novella published in 1884 by Edwin A. Abbott, which explores hierarchy, social order, and internal tensions between individuals and a collective society through its examination of “dimensions”. The story’s narrator, A Square, comprehends the concepts of depth and dimension when he enters the three-dimensional world of Spaceland—an idea that Tantra explores throughout the entire exhibition.
Tantra examines the territory between two and three dimensions—the balance of push and pull. Her works define the clarity between the two but also finds endless ways of distorting it, questioning the relationship between painting and architecture. Influenced by her Balinese heritage, Tantra draws upon a bold and vibrant palette on an architectural scale, exposing the “architecture” of painting on raw linen, creating works that celebrate spectacle and question the decorative, functional, and social role of art. Tantra collages, layers and constructs with colour in her works. Colour, an integral element in the artist’s work, straddles the language of art and industry.
Tantra’s works merge pop and formalism, colour and rhythm, East and West, as well as identity and aesthetics. The artist is intrigued when private becomes public and when the viewer becomes active. Tantra’s architectural works insert their identity, aesthetics, and fantasy into the functional. In this exhibition, the artist explores the association between pictorial and physical space, combining elements of public artwork inside the gallery space.
Sinta Tantra writes, “Can painting become architecture? Can architecture become a painting? I believe that it is the activity of drawing itself which physically links these two disciplines together. If drawing links painting with architecture, can drawing also reverse the way I paint? In other words, can architecture be applied on top of painting? And if so, do we as viewers become more immersed in its physical or pictorial dimensions?”
About the artist
A British artist of Balinese descent, Sinta Tantra was born in New York in 1979. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London 1999–2003 and at the Royal Academy Schools 2004–06.
Tantra is well regarded for her site-specific murals and installations in the public realm. These include works for the Southbank Centre, Liverpool Biennial, the Royal British Society of Sculptors, and Transport for London. Among Tantra’s most notable works is a permanent landmark commission for Canary Wharf completed for the Olympics in 2012—a 300-metre-long painted bridge stretching over the water in the heart of London’s business district. Recent public art commissions in 2015 include Newnham College of the University of Cambridge and the newly built “tech city” of Songdo, South Korea.
Recent international group shows include Nick Hornby & Sinta Tantra: Collaborative Works (2015), Choi and Lager Gallery, Cologne; Bend Sinister (2014), i-CAN, Yogyakarta; Gatekeeper (2014), William Holman Gallery, New York; Indonesian Contemporary Art and Design (2013), Grand Kemang Hotel, Jakarta; The Fine Line (2013), Identity Gallery, Hong Kong; and Confined (2012), NEST Gallery, The Hague.
Tantra has received awards including the prestigious Deutsche Bank Award and the British Council’s International Development Award. She was also shortlisted for the Jerwood Painting Prize. Tantra’s work has been featured in both UK and international press, including Tate Shots, FAD Magazine, theEvening Standard’s Hot List 100, Nylon Magazine USA, the Jakarta Post, and BBC Radio Indonesia.
Tantra’s works are in the UK Government Art Collection as well as private international collections.
About the exhibition
Dates: September 23 – October 22
Venue: Pearl Lam Galleries
Courtesy of the artist and Pearl Lam Galleries, for further information please visit www.pearllam.com.