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b. 1961, China

Lin Tianmiao Biography

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

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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

Lin Tianmiao Featured Artworks

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Untitled (Bonsai Tree) by Lin Tianmiao contemporary artwork
Lin TianmiaoUntitled (Bonsai Tree), 2012Bonsai tree, threads, metal constructions
95 x 65 x 95 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
More or Less the Same by Lin Tianmiao contemporary artwork
Lin TianmiaoMore or Less the Same, 2011Polyurea, silk threads, and stainless steel
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Badges by Lin Tianmiao contemporary artwork
Lin TianmiaoBadges, 2011–2012White silk, coloured silk thread, painted stainless steel embroidery frame, sound component
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Minty Blue by Lin Tianmiao contemporary artwork
Lin TianmiaoMinty Blue, 2012Threads, wood frame, synthetic bones
99.1 x 88.9 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Seeing Shadows LTM 611D by Lin Tianmiao contemporary artwork
Lin TianmiaoSeeing Shadows LTM 611D, 2009Lithograph, screen print with embossed ink on STPI handmade paper,
107.5 x 301 cm
STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery Contact Gallery
Seeing Shadows LTM 608D by Lin Tianmiao contemporary artwork
Lin TianmiaoSeeing Shadows LTM 608D, 2008Lithography, embossing, hole punches, acrylic paint, silver pencil
107.5 x 301 cm
STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery Contact Gallery
Focus LTM 604 I by Lin Tianmiao contemporary artwork
Lin TianmiaoFocus LTM 604 I, 2008Lithograph embossing and hole punches on double layers of STPI handmade paper,
128 x 103 cm
STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery Contact Gallery
Focus I E by Lin Tianmiao contemporary artwork
Lin TianmiaoFocus I E, 2006Lithorgraph pigment stained with STPI handmade paper with handmade holes,
127 x 102 cm
STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery Contact Gallery

Lin Tianmiao Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, RED at Galerie Lelong & Co. New York, New York
Closed
10 April–8 May 2020 Group Exhibition RED Galerie Lelong & Co. New YorkOnline Only
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Afterimage: Dangdai Yishu at Lisson Gallery, London
Closed
3 July–7 September 2019 Group Exhibition Afterimage: Dangdai Yishu Lisson GalleryLisson Street, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Afterimage: Dangdai Yishu at Lisson Gallery, London
Closed
3 July–7 September 2019 Group Exhibition Afterimage: Dangdai Yishu Lisson GalleryBell Street, London

Lin Tianmiao Represented By

Lin Tianmiao In Ocula Magazine

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Emi Eu: ‘We have to look at Southeast Asia as one market’ Ocula Conversation Emi Eu: ‘We have to look at Southeast Asia as one market’ By Stephanie Bailey, Singapore

STPI's Emi Eu reflects on S.E.A. Focus, an STPI project platforming artists and galleries from Southeast Asia, in the wake of Art Stage's decline in 2019 and ahead of the launch of Singapore's new art fair, Art SG, in October 2020.

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Afterimage: Dangdai Yishu at Lisson Gallery, London Ocula Insight Afterimage: Dangdai Yishu at Lisson Gallery, London By Sam Gaskin, London

An afterimage is a false visual burned onto the eyes even after its source is no longer being viewed. Victor Wang, the curator of Afterimage: Dangdai Yishu (3 July–7 September 2019) at Lisson Gallery, London, borrows the term to describe one of the key accomplishments of contemporary art: the accommodation of work that is post-figurative, or...

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LACMA Explores the Allure of Matter Ocula Report LACMA Explores the Allure of Matter By Jareh Das, Los Angeles

The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) (2 June 2019–5 January 2020) is an inter-generational show of 21 Chinese artists working from the 1980s to the present, including Ai Weiwei, Cai Guo-Qiang, Lin Tianmiao, Song Dong, He Xiangyu, Yin Xiuzhen, and Ma Qiusha.

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Theater of the World: Art and China after 1989 Ocula Report Theater of the World: Art and China after 1989 By David Xu Borgonjon, New York

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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Lin Tianmiao In Related Press

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

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....

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

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 6 October 2017, The New York Times

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...

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

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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Lin Tianmiao In Video & Audio

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

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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