The need for escape is as deeply-rooted in the human psyche as are our more primal behaviours, yet it is often in strange times like these that such a need becomes all-encompassing. As the world has come to a standstill, we find ourselves drawn to the comfort and allure of better days—of wide open spaces and carefree chatter, of unrestricted movement, of freedom. The ever-widening chasm between this seemingly unreachable past and the harrowing reality of our present state has thrown us deep into the waves of uncertainty and distress, forcing us to navigate these uncharted waters and find our way out from within its depths.
“Limbo Paradise” sits right at the centre of this phenomenon. In her latest solo exhibition, Ikea Rizalon draws inspiration from the inescapable effects the current pandemic has inflicted on society, likening our situation to that of being in limbo, as we oscillate in uncertainty from one emotion to the next, trying to make sense of the present and the unforeseeable direction we are headed towards. Rizalon transforms these altogether familiar sensations of fear, anxiety, confusion, and helplessness into something more tangible, by portraying how we collectively respond to reality by escaping into our own safe havens, often self-designed and tailored to suit our personal comforts and desires.
The works in the exhibition are an examination into what makes a “paradise” within the context of our current setting. The subjects lounge in enjoyment in richly-furnished interiors and fresh airy spaces, often amongst the company of other people and engaged in social activities. Yet beneath the surface we are confronted with the reality that these welcoming spaces are simply a means for us to adjust to the rather dismal reality of our own surroundings. Even so, the subjects in the works move about their day, happy and almost oblivious to the pandemic that continues to rage on by the passing hour.
In “Limbo Paradise,” the subjects of the works transform into extensions of ourselves, as we seek to adapt and come to terms with our loss of control over our very own lives. We learn to find solace in our personal, manufactured paradises, embellishing them with beautiful sceneries and memories of brighter and more carefree days. Perhaps it is only in imagining them as real that we are able to find our place within the discomfort of this seemingly everlasting uncertainty, and discover amidst the dying embers of yesterday’s reminiscences some tiny fragments of spontaneous brightness and hope.