Photo: @qimmyshimmy via Instagram
What is art?
According to Google, it's "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power." Now, we don't deny that this recent sculpture project by Singaporean artist Qixuan Lim is art—she is clearly very skilled and imaginative, and this project does elicit powerful emotions. However, those powerful emotions (at least for us) are ones of repulsion, disgust and horror.
Before you scroll down, this is a warning that these sculptures feature sculpted dismembered body parts resembling those of babies, presented as various kinds of dim sum, a type of Chinese cuisine. This content will be triggering for many people—perhaps especially those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss—so if you're concerned, we recommend you click away now. (May we instead suggest a gallery of cute babies snoozing with their dads?)
If you had a negative visceral reaction to those pictures, we're totally right here with you—and so is the artist herself.
"A negative response is also a valid response," she said in an interview with Melbourne's Beinart Gallery, where the work was on display. "I would rather make art that people can love or hate than make something that nobody ever talks about."
However, the project wasn't necessarily made for shock value alone. In a 2017 interview with HiveLife, Lim said, "Shocking my audience was never the sole intention of my works. I’m more interested in creating a balance between the beautiful and grotesque, and making something that one finds desirable yet repulsive at the same time."
We have to admit that after getting past the initial disgust, we kind of get it—even though we are still very much repulsed. To use the words of the artist herself: "Dualities are what makes life and people interesting!"