An Opera for Animals was first staged at Para Site in Hong Kong between 23 March and 2 June 2019, with works by over 48 artists and collectives that use opera as a metaphor for modes of contemporary, cross-disciplinary art-making. The exhibition's second iteration takes up a large portion of the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai (22 June–25...
Moving across installation, painting, drawing, and writing, Malaysia-born and London-based artist Mandy El-Sayegh explores the political, social, and economic complexities of humanity, using a mosaic of information—from advertising slogans and pornographic imagery to newspaper articles—that she subjects to processes of layering,...
Get Up Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House in London (12 June–15 September 2019) surveys more than half a century of black creativity in Britain and beyond across the fields of art, film, photography, music, design, fashion, and literature.Curated by Zak Ové, works by approximately 100 intergenerational black...
Many years ago, as political protest and dissent shook his native Taiwan, artist Michael Lin made a conscious decision to turn inward for inspiration. The vicissitudes of domestic life—rather than the political currents shaping the public sphere—gave way to what have become Lin's signature flower motifs. Using the patterns and shapes on four traditional pillows as aesthetic touchstones, Lin created his first floralscapes have become a signature motif of his work. Those floral motifs—highly attuned to Taiwanese visual language—have ironically proved to be some of the most politically and culturally resonant of Lin's work.
Michael Lin (林明弘) is a multi-disciplinary artist known for his large-scale installations and iconic floral motif. Having gained recognition in the 1990s for his immersive approach to exhibitions, Lin’s artworks generally embody a tongue-in-cheek commentary on contemporary cultures of commercialisation and commodification.
The most recognisable element of his work is the recurring appearance of floral patterns, inspired by Taiwanese textile design from the 1960s, which Lin associates with the social and political atmosphere of the country. The patterns usually appear as murals painted directly onto architectural surfaces, or painted on materials such as wood or metal. Variations of the pattern have enveloped gallery interiors, museum façades (such as the exterior of the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2010) and daily objects such as furniture and tableware, challenging traditional notions of painting and its function. In Lin’s installations, painting ceases to be a passive receiver of the viewer’s gaze and instead occupies the space of the viewer.
Recurrent themes of nostalgia, personal history and collective memory are embedded in Lin’s work. For the exhibition What Difference a Day Made (2008) at the Shanghai Gallery of Art, Lin reconstructed a local Shanghainese store inside the gallery space. He painstakingly catalogued the objects found in the actual store and displayed them in crates as if precious artefacts; these mundane domestic objects served as vehicles of counter-amnesia in the face of rapid urbanisation in Shanghai.
For his 2012 solo exhibition Model Home: A Proposition by Michael Lin at the Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, Lin transgressed the boundaries of exhibition space by hiring labourers who lived on-site while installing the wall painting for the exhibition. He also challenged the notions of authorship and institutional authority by inviting other entities, such as architecture firm Atelier Bow-Wow and video artist Cheng Ran, to collaborate on the project. Alongside music, film and performance, the exhibition consisted of the workers’ shacks, paintings of folk patterns derived from the workers’ blankets, and a street-style canteen.
Lin also challenges and transforms the status of objects through acts of appropriation and dislocation. This was exemplified in his 2016 solo exhibition Michael Lin: Locomotion at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila. For the show, he asked pedicab drivers in Manila to replace the tarp hood of their vehicles with his printed floral design, and displayed patchwork banners made out of the original tarps in the museum. The same floral pattern also covered the museum’s interior surfaces in an uninterrupted flow, across multi-textured surfaces in drawing, painting and print.
In 2017, Lin produced a site-specific work for the exhibition Enjoy at the Chiostro del Bramante. Produced in collaboration with students from various art institutes in Rome, the 188-square-metre floor mural transformed the Renaissance courtyard into a symbolic flower garden.
Lin earned a BFA at the Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles (1990) and completed his MFA at the ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena (1993). In addition to the Rockbund Art Museum, he has had solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2017); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2005); MoMA PS1, New York (2004); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2003) and more. He has participated in multiple biennials including the Lyon Biennial (2009), Gwangju Biennale (2002), Liverpool Biennial (2002), Istanbul Biennial (2001) and the Taiwan Pavilion of the 49th Venice Biennial (2001). Public collections that house Lin’s artwork include the Rockbund Art Museum; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung; and Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, among many others.
A prominent member of the post-1980s generation of Chinese artists and a former assistant of Ai Wewei, the Beijing artist talks about his visually stunning, anti-authoritarian and provocative work. Lilly Wei talked to the artist in his Beijing studio in 2015
Xu Qu graduated with a MFA in Fine Arts and Film at Braunschweig University of Art, and currently lives and works in Beijing. Xu Qu's art practice investigates aesthetic considerations behind social connections. He attempts to dismiss any unnecessary elements that distract from the theme, using a minimalist approach to simplify the picture. The...
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