Exhibition view: Lin Tianmiao, Protruding Patterns, Galerie Lelong & Co., New York (7 September-21 October 2017). Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York. Photo: Lin Tianmiao.
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 (b. 1961) has exhibited internationally since 1997, but this is the first major survey of her work. In the studio, the atmosphere is tense. 'We're refinishing the surfaces of these sculptural pieces,' Lin explains, pointing to the small, rounded figure of a woman's body—resembling a miniature Renoir nude done in polyure—balanced in the hands of a female assistant who patiently smoothes a fringe of threads hanging from one side of the body.