Solo Exhibition

Imperceptible: machine, animal, plant, stone, skull

Roski Mateo Gallery
1262 Palmetto Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
July 2 – 10, 2021

In Imperceptible: machine, animal, plant, stone, skull, Hings Lim uses installation, sculpture, image, performance, and place to propose a rumination on the space between human and nonhuman. Underlying this body of work are the varied cultural and spiritual influences present in his home region of Southeast Asia. Lim employs technology, alternate reality, ritual, and artifact as mechanisms that expose and explore a specific liminality. This liminality, however, is not static, but rather, constantly moving and essential to the in-flux and cyclical nature of becoming.

The subtitle, machine, animal, plant, stone, skull alludes to the material objects and semiotics that Lim both, challenges the limitations of and draws inspiration from. The works throughout the exhibition are performing in space by revealing their own individual and interrelation subjectivities. A carefully crafted biface candle, flickering in the wind; a haunting, yet unimposing hominid skull, floating in mid-air; a digitally-rendered tree sharing the stories of the land, come together as meditations on the entangled relationship between technology, nature, and ghost. Shadows, lights, sounds, and performativity manifest as immaterial and intangible, yet undeniably present within the gallery. Lim gazes towards both the future and the past by collapsing, and simultaneously zooming-in on the concept of time. In doing so, through this exhibition he gives way to reconsiderations of linearity, evolution, death, and perception.

Imperceptible: machine, animal, plant, stone, skull offers viewers (im)material and (dis)embodied touchstones on which to reflect and constellate between, while ultimately gesturing towards new possibilities for sensing (non)human subjectivity through time and space.

Text by Carlo Tuason
Curated by Carlo Tuason and Kate Rouhandeh.

Text by Joseph Daniel Valencia published in exhibition catalog

How does the notion of “ghost” reveal new ways of thinking about time, becoming, and witnessing? This is a chief concern of Imperceptible: machine, animal, plant, stone, skull (2021), the MFA thesis exhibition by artist Hings Lim. The idea of ghosts, as imperceptible beings, varies across cultures and belief systems, but one thing remains constant: ghosts are beings of in-between realms. This in-betweenness is of particular interest to Lim explored as an idea, a lived experience, and a framework for new experiments in art and technology.

Lim’s exhibition is ghostly in and of itself. Video installations placed in both corners of the gallery necessitate darkness and produce flickers of light and shadows across the space. The largest video installation, Monolith (2021), features an interactive projection of an upright dark form inhabiting the atmosphere. Surrounded by whirling clouds, the dominating figure surrenders to our shrieks, collapsing onto itself before disappearing completely.

As ghost, Monolith comments on mass hysteria, fear of authority, and fear of one another, while also questioning what makes something human or nonhuman. The other video installation, Homo Lanterns (2020), simulates the passing of time, as three windows creep up the gallery walls through elaborate video mapping that begins on the gallery’s cement floor. An early hominid skull rotates in space within the center of the windows. The skull remains even as the windows fade out of focus, prompting inquiry into our evolutionary past.

Technology clearly plays a profound role in Lim’s ghostly articulations. In a brighter section of the gallery, ancient stone tools are reproduced as wax candles through a 3D printing and casting process. Tools such as these mark the earliest examples of what we call now call technology. The colorful sculptural pieces pull from both ancient and contemporary advancements and mark the collapsing of time and space. This is further evidenced through their fuel-like function in Flaming Tower II (2021), where Lim ignites them atop an aluminum stand and they melt themselves away.

A large purple photograph, Witnesses I (2021), presents a stereoscopic view of trees that have borne witness to humanity’s vicissitudes. This work gestures to the 19th-century photographic device that produced early three-dimensional images, while also highlighting the multiple views—proud, ashamed, and disgusted to name a few—that we can use to examine humanity’s collective history on the planet. Performativity is an equally important part of Lim’s practice. His works require our full attention, participation, and acknowledgment, but they also present new portals to bring forth what we might not yet be attuned to perceiving.


Imperceptible: machine, animal, plant, stone, skull imagines becoming not as a transitory state, but as a condition. Working in sculpture and video, interdisciplinary artist Hings Lim dilates objects and technologies in order to explore interrelational subjectivities beyond the dialectics of self and other, human and nonhuman, and culture and nature. In this body of work, Lim rethinks apparatuses, testing the bounds of materiality and performativity as a means of meditating upon the unfathomable past and the elusive future. Drawing upon ritual and phantasmagoria, Lim interrogates the spaces between in order to consider becoming not as a linear progression but as multiplication. A profusion of ancient and imagined objects—tools, relics, spatial maps—echo to construct the artist’s version of a rhizome, but ultimately, rather than attempting to concretize the multiplication of spatiality and temporality that defines this body of work, Lim offers the ghostly as a metaphor for the concerns at the core of his practice: imperceptible unless sought. 

Exhibition details
TitleImperceptible: machine, animal, plant, stone, skull 
DurationJuly 2 – 10, 2021
LocationRoski Mateo Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
CuratorCarlo Tuason and Kate Rouhandeh
DownloadExhibition Catalog: Text by Joseph Daniel Valencia
Press Release and Work List