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Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber Ocula Report Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber 15 Mar 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...

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Diana Campbell Betancourt Ocula Conversation Diana Campbell Betancourt

Diana Campbell Betancourt is a curator working predominantly across South and Southeast Asia. Since 2013 she has been the founding artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a transnational art event that has grown in size and scale ever since its first edition in 2012. Backed by...

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Chinternet Ugly at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art Ocula Report Chinternet Ugly at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art 7 Mar 2019 : Mike Pinnington for Ocula

China, home to 802 million internet users, is subject to sophisticated online censorship. This shrouded state of affairs, unsurprisingly perhaps, serves to reinforce stereotypes around conformity elsewhere. Any realm, digital or otherwise, subject to such strict scrutiny must necessarily be bland and uncritical, right? I was mulling over such...

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Lin Tianmiao

b. 1961, China

Lin Tianmiao (林天苗) became one of the first Chinese women to establish herself as an internationally respected contemporary artist.

Her initial art training came from her father, from whom she learned calligraphy and traditional painting techniques. Then, having gained a BFA from Capital Normal University in Beijing in 1984, she and her husband—the artist Wang Gongxin—migrated to New York City in 1988 where they remained until 1994. Tianmiao has subsequently stressed the key significance of her time in New York in shaping her artistic attitudes. While there, Tianmiao designed textiles and in 1989 she attended The Art Students League. On her return to Beijing, she converted her home into an open studio that became one of the key venues for so-called Apartment Art. It was at this time that Tianmiao began making work involving winding thread around everyday objects. She has related this technique to childhood memories of helping her mother make clothes for her family, and the use of thread in various ways became a core characteristic of her mature work.

Her work has expanded into sculpture, photography, video and large-scale installation. She has repeatedly used images of the naked female body and, in a series of 'Body Language' sculptures, replicas of human bones.

Among Tianmiao's core concerns are the disappearance of tradition and the dehumanising pressures of contemporary society. Despite the materials and subject matter of her work, Tianmiao has rejected the suggestion that she is a feminist artist. When talking to Ocula Magazine in 2017, she explained that 'the term "feminism" is borrowed from the West.' She added that 'using a woman's perspective is something I've worked through now.'

The exhibition Bound Unbound at Asia Society Museum in New York (7 September 2012–27 January 2013) was crucial in establishing Lin Tianmiao's international reputation, and her work is now in the permanent collections of museums across Asia, Australia and the United States. She lives and works in Beijing.

Robert Ayers | Ocula | 2017
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Featured Artworks

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Untitled (Bonsai Tree) by  contemporary artwork Untitled (Bonsai Tree), 2012 Bonsai tree, threads, metal constructions
95 x 65 x 95 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
More or Less the Same by  contemporary artwork More or Less the Same, 2011 Polyurea, silk threads, and stainless steel
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Badges by  contemporary artwork Badges, 2011–2012 White silk, coloured silk thread, painted stainless steel embroidery frame, sound component
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Minty Blue by  contemporary artwork Minty Blue, 2012 Threads, wood frame, synthetic bones
99.1 x 88.9 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Must Be the Same by  contemporary artwork Must Be the Same, 2011 Embroidery, linen cloth, cotton cloth, silk cloth, silk threads, polyurea
506 x 252 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Seeing Shadow No. F-13 by  contemporary artwork Seeing Shadow No. F-13, 2009 C-prints on canvas, silk threads, and cotton threads
183 x 183 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Mother's!!! by  contemporary artwork Mother's!!!, 2008 Polyurea, silk, cotton threads
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Hand Signal No. 20 by  contemporary artwork Hand Signal No. 20, 2005 C-print, felt, synthetic hairs
148 x 118 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Lin Tianmiao, Protruding Patterns at Galerie Lelong & Co. New York, New York
7 September–21 October 2017 Lin Tianmiao Protruding Patterns Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group exhibition, Beyond the Grid at STPI, Singapore
14 November–31 December 2014 Group exhibition Beyond the Grid STPI, Singapore

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Theater of the World: Art and China after 1989 Ocula Report Theater of the World: Art and China after 1989 13 Dec 2017 : David Xu Borgonjon for Ocula

Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World (6 October 2017–7 January 2018) is a survey exhibition of 'Chinese contemporary art' that studiously avoids the phrase. Curated by Alexandra Munroe, Philip Tinari and Hou Hanru, it coils chronologically up the entirety of the Guggenheim Museum's rotunda. Bisecting this spiral is Hong Kong video art...

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Artist Insight: Lin Tianmiao Ocula Insight Artist Insight: Lin Tianmiao By Robert Ayers

Although she has not had a major solo show here since the extraordinary Bound Unbound closed at Asia Society in 2013, Lin Tianmiao is currently receiving a good deal of attention in New York City. Her solo exhibition Protruding Patterns (featuring the remarkable large-scale 2014 work of the same title) was at Galerie Lelong & Co., New York,...

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Go East: The Gene & Brian Sherman Contemporary Asian Art Collection Ocula Report Go East: The Gene & Brian Sherman Contemporary Asian Art Collection 5 Jun 2015 : Jane O’Sullivan for Ocula

Yang Zhichao’s Chinese Bible is both unyieldingly monumental and humble. In the latest presentation of the work in Sydney, all 3,000 of the diaries he has collected from Beijing’s fleamarkets are placed in neat rows on a large, rectangular plinth. Dated from 1949 to 1999 they record 50 turbulent years in China’s...

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Gene Sherman & Suhanya Raffel Ocula Conversation Gene Sherman & Suhanya Raffel Collector and Curator

When Australian collectors and philanthropists Gene and Brian Sherman moved from South Africa to Australia in 1976, Gene says they instantly recognised a “buzz about Asia” that they weren’t expecting.As an academic teaching French literature, the push towards Asian languages also put her out of a job. “I went into...

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In Related Press

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Woven Labours Related Press Woven Labours Art In America : 12 October 2017

Amid the dry, dusty air of June in Beijing, Lin Tianmiao's studio is a hyperclean sanctuary. Lin, China's foremost experimental woman artist, keeps anything that is less than pristine firmly locked outside. Especially at this moment, as she pushes to prepare works for imminent shipment to New York for her fall retrospective at the Asia Society. Lin...

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Treading on Euphemisms for Women Related Press Treading on Euphemisms for Women Hyperallergic : 6 October 2017

Lost in this month's furor about the use of animals in some of the works in the Guggenheim's exhibition Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World, which led to the removal of three installations, is another troubling aspect: of more than 70 artists on view in that show, only 10 are women; one of those, Sarah Morris, is not even Chinese....

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From Innovation to Provocation, China’s Artists on a Global Path Related Press From Innovation to Provocation, China’s Artists on a Global Path The New York Times : 6 October 2017

Strange to say, although China has 1.4 billion people, it has only one artist, Ai Weiwei. Or so you'd think if you followed the Western news media. Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum wants to correct that impression. With work by some 70 Chinese-born artists and collectives filling most of the museum,...

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Lin Tianmiao with Kang Kang Related Press Lin Tianmiao with Kang Kang Brooklyn Rail : 5 October 2017

Lin Tianmiao is one of the most powerful female voices to emerge from and endure the vicissitudes of Chinese contemporary art over the past two decades. Since the mid-1990s, she has been making labor-intensive, traditional craft-based sculptures and installations breathtaking in their obsessive and dangerously precise transformation of everyday...

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In Related Video

Lin Tianmiao: Protruding Patterns Related Video & Audio Lin Tianmiao: Protruding Patterns Sinovision English Channel : 11 October 2017

From September 7h to October 21st, the main gallery of Galerie Lelong in Chelsea will be covered with a massive carpet. The bright and colorful carpet is made up of dozens of antique carpets sewn together and invites viewers to walk on it. On top of the carpet are embroidered words written in various languages including Chinese, Japanese, and...


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