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.