Born in Singapore in 1936, Kim Lim studied at St Martin’s School of Art, London between 1954-56, and the Slade School of Fine Art, 1956-60.
Kim Lim exhibited widely after leaving the Slade in 1960, with her first solo exhibition at the Axiom Gallery, London in 1966. From 1980, she turned to stone-carving, whilst continuing to make prints and fill sketchbooks with drawings from nature. With her husband, the sculptor and painter William Turnbull, she made frequent journeys to China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Egypt, Malaysia and Turkey. These experiences confirmed in her a lifelong predilection for things archaic, and for the flow and rhythm of Indian and South East Asian sculpture: “I found that I always responded to things that were done in earlier civilizations that seemed to have less elaboration and more strength.”
“In the earlier phase of work, I used mainly wood. I have always been more concerned with space, rhythm and light than with volume and weight. These preoccupations were more obvious in the work of the seventies, where repeated elements were used to create a structure that would sustain a certain rhythm, where space is not emptiness but a palpable reality.”
”After a number of years I felt the need to move to a less static structure, one where I could incorporate if possible the element of change and surprise. It so happened at this time that I was asked to design a fountain. I made a few maquettes and experimented with stone, going back to my favourite method of working, carving. The pleasure of working in this material where one was not constrained by the dimensions of a tree, gave impetus to exploring different ways of working.”