Log in to
Email Address
Password
Forgot your password?
Not a member? Sign up now!
Lin yilin photo

Lin Yilin 林一林

post Contributor Artist Website

Lin Yilin (born in Guangzhou, China, 1964) is a performance and installation artist who currently lives and works in New York and Beijing. Lin graduated with a degree in sculpture from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts (1987).His work has been exhibited globally in solo and group exhibitions. Lin Yilin is a founding member of the Big Tail Elephant Group.

The Big Tail Elephant Group is an artist collective founded in 1990 by Lin Yilin, Chen Shaoxiong, and Liang Juhui and later joined by Xu Tan. The group formed in Guangzhou, China, with an interest in urban development and the rapid transformation of modern cities, Guangzhou being among the earliest cities in China to undergo this shift. Lin produced site-specific installations, public artworks, and performances to express his perspective on Guangzhou’s rapid social and political transformation.

Lin was the recipient of the Foundation Catier pour I’Art Contemporain Grant (1993), the Contemporary Chinese Art Award (2000), and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2001), Kadist Art Foundation Grant (2011), and Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship (2013).

Lin first exhibited work with Big Tail Elephant in 1991 at the Guangzhou No.1 Worker's Palace, Guangzhou, China, and regularly continued to show work with the collective through the 2000s. In 1997 Lin participated in Trade Routes: History and Geography, 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa. Then in 1998 he was included in Inside Out, New Chinese Art, presented by the Asia Society at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, USA, as well as the 1998 Taihei Biennale at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan.

Select group exhibitions include Another Long March: Chinese Conceptual Art (1997), Breda, The Netherlands; Cities on the Move (1997) at Vereinigung bildender Kunstler Wiener Secession, Vienna, Austria; Second Johannesburg Biennale (1997) in South Africa; Big Tail Elephant (1998) at Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland; Taipei Biennale (1998) in Taiwan; Inside Out: New Chinese Art (1998) at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, USA; Pause, Fourth Gwangju Biennale (2002), Gwangju, South Korea; 50th Venice Biennale (2003), Venice, Italy; Guangzhou Triennial (2002 and 2005) at the Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China; Documenta 12 (2007), Kassel, Germany, 10th Biennale de Lyon (2009) at the Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France; Seventh Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale (2012) at OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, China; and Le Mouvement: Performing the City (2014), the 12th Swiss Sculpture Exhibition, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland.

Lin’s first solo exhibition, Move On: Lin Yilin (2004) was presented at the ISE Cultural Foundation, New York, USA, and included installation, paintings, video, and performance. Through this exhibition Lin highlighted his concern with cultural identity and boundary crossing. Select solo exhibitions include A Spatio-Temporal Tunnel (2008) at Shanghai Gallery of Art, Shanghai, China; Golden Journey (2012) at San Francisco Art Institute, USA; and Holiday (2013) at Edicola Notte, Rome, Italy.

Recent Responses

Lin yilin photo

Posted on 8 Jul

Mao Zedong taught us this: Always self-criticize. I remember when I was at the elementary school, we were asked to write a “self-evaluation” at the end of each semester. Part of this evaluation consisted of our recognizing our own faults, yet, interestingly enough, almost everyone gave cookie-cut answers that varied little. So to reflect on this piece – a discussion that took place 20 years ago – does not seem very meaningful to me. That being said, since these words are to be published, some clarification is in order.

Big Elephant Group was established shortly after the Cold War ended, a time when globalization hadn’t fully taken over the world yet. On the one hand, we were critical to the New Wave Movement in China in the 1980s that bore attributes of Modernism, because it happened in the isolated context with no communication with the international art scene. On the other hand, we sought to surpass Western contemporary art. Because I am against socialist-realism, I turned to pursue a Utopian, new art form in my works. However, without a societal context of discourses, this individual system that relies on solitary imagination becomes weak and can hardly support itself. Three months after the Big Tail Elephant internal meeting in 1993, I adjusted myself and changed directions, and my works turned to efforts of impacting the society from an individual artist’s point of view. After the year of 2000, I have had various opportunities to create artwork in the contexts of different countries, and this sort of influence had to come from opportunities given by the local system; I didn’t belong to those systems, I only came and went between them. A system equates its society, which equates a power of control. I have always pondered about what sort of new weapon could help us fight against this globalized system that becomes more and more rigid each day. Clearly, art itself would not be the weapon. Perhaps this is an unoriginal concern, and yet again it has become an obstacle.

Show less »
Discuss (3) Print

Mao Zedong taught us this: Always self-criticize. I remember when I was at the elementary school, we were asked to write a “self-evaluation” at the end of each semester. Part of this evaluation consisted of our recognizing our own faults, yet,...

Show more »
Lin yilin photo

Posted on 8 Jul

毛教导过我们:要自我批评。记得在小学的每个学期末,学生总要写一篇自我鉴定,其中部份文字就要指出自己的缺点,每个人写的都是套话,缺点几乎都一样。对于这篇二十年前的谈话,我觉得进行反省是没太多的意义,但是这些文字既然要公诸于众,加以说明是必要的。

“大尾象”成立于冷战刚结束,全球化还没完全到来的时期。在完全没有对外交流现场的状况下,我们反对80年代具有现代主义特点的中国新潮美术,在意识上试图超越西方的当代艺术。由于具有反社会主义现实主义艺术的情结,我的作品努力走向乌托邦式的新美学。在没有语境下,靠孤立地幻想来维系和支撑的个人体系是脆弱和不能自足的,仅仅这次谈话的3个月后,我就改变方向了,我的创作进入到个人从外部干涉社会的路上。2000年后,时不时经历在不同国家的在地创作,这种干涉不得不要依附于局部体制给予的机会,我不属于那一个体制,只是在不同体制之间进进出出。体制等同于社会,等同于控制,我在想有什么新式武器能够袭击这些日益僵化的全球体制,很显然,这类武器不会是艺术自身。或许这是个老话题,但它又一次成为路障。

Show less »
Discuss (3) Print

毛教导过我们:要自我批评。记得在小学的每个学期末,学生总要写一篇自我鉴定,其中部份文字就要指出自己的缺点,每个人写的都是套话,缺点几乎都一样。对于这篇二十年前的谈话,我觉得进行反省是没太多的意义,但是这些文字既然要公诸于众,加以说明是必要的。

“大尾象”成立于冷战刚结束,全球化还没完全到来的时期。在完全没有对外交流现场的状况下,我们反对80年代具有现代主义特点的中国新潮美术,在意识上试图超越西方的当代艺术。由于具有反社会主义现实主义艺术的情结,我的作品努力走向乌托邦式的新美学。在没有语境下...

Show more »