Yellow Peril is a new body of work from Eugenia Lim exploring the impact and influence of mining and immigration on the Australian identity. Ron Robertson-Swann’s infamous ‘Vault, 1980’ sculpture is the starting point for Lim’s performative and playful new video work, which features a gold Mao-suited ‘Ambassador’ sent back in time to the goldfields of the 1850s (through the historical theme park of today – Sovereign Hill).
Inspired by the observational comedy of Jacques Tati’s Playtime, Yellow Peril takes a localised look at the evolving dynamics between Australia and China and the interconnected nature of our socio-economic future; the personal and political search for wealth and alluvial fulfilment. Large prints on gold emergency blanket depict Lim’s parents as new immigrants with the ‘Yellow Peril’ in City Square beside the artist posed as ‘Ambassador’ with a gold replica of the ‘Welcome Stranger’.
A second generation Australian of Chinese-Singaporean descent, Eugenia Lim works across installation, performance and video. Interested in how nationalism and stereotypes are formed, Lim invents personas to explore the tensions of an individual within society – the alienation and belonging in a globalised world. Conflations between authenticity, mimicry, natural, man-made, historical and anachronistic are important to the work. To this end, Lim finds inspiration in sites and objects that are both ‘contemporary’ and ‘out of time’, embodied and virtual.