Language of Winding Threads — Lin Tianmiao

Nov 24, 2017 2:18AM

21.Oct.2017—7 Jan.2018

Seeing Shadow, 2013

In the thirty-year development of Installation Art in China, when the name LIN TIAN MIAO is mentioned, it is inevitable to talk about her language of winding thread and the underlying symbols while we peruse related articles and critiques. This year in NUNU FINE ART, LIN will have her classic series “Seeing Shadow”, “Black-White-Grey”, “Blue Infrastructure”, “Meshes Series”, and “More or Less the same” in the show, which embody the artist’s insistence on the the winding elements and the deconstruction of the artifacts

Blue Infrastructure, 2013

The turmoil always invites people to think about the future of the country and the society. LIN and her husband WANG GONG-XIN, who is known as one of the first artists to experiment on the medium of video art in China, left their hometown and resettled in New York in the 1980s. Living in the center of Western Contemporary Art, LIN is capable of transforming the most pioneering, abundant artistic atmosphere into the nutrients for cultivating her own sensitivity and mastery of the visual language. The solemn and the succinct overflow out of her works and perhaps are unfolded from this experience. In comparison to other Chinese Installation artists’ works that are loaded with passion and agitation, LIN’s gaze afar, a hemisphere away from the homeland with no indifference, which makes her works exude a sense of tranquility.

         (left)More and Less the same, 2012                         (right)Black White Grey - White,2013

Using threads as phrases, the winding as input method, this choice has already revealed the motive of the creator, even though the work itself does not develop a feminine temperament deliberately. LIN then uses the threads to visualize the winding process through repetitive physical actions; refined, meticulous, and orderly landscape strings up the individual behavior and the collective phenomenon, arriving at the point of pure beauty. After the works are placed into space, the interpretation built up by visitors’ experience and value plays as the last stitch that integrates the external experience and internal meanings. Thus, it shows that LIN’s works reach harmony between its visual and context languages, from the initial stages of using materials, through constructing messages, to being experienced as a whole in a space.

               (left)Pink Meshes, 2013                                           (right)Black White Grey - Grey, 2013

If we try to categorize LIN’s concepts behind her works, it touches upon the social inquiry of the identity, gender issues, and physical languages; besides, the title of a “female artist” will also be tagged to her works to understand the narratives behind the creation. If we remove these labels given by people, the fluency of her works is still seen by the audience, meaning that the works are created with mature skills and precise control. A high degree of integrity is manifest. LIN’s works have been collected by MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, SFMoMA, Singapore Art Museum, National Museum of Australia, and other international art institutions.


MoMA, New York

MoMA collects four artworks from Lin Tianmiao, including three pieces of “Focus” and one piece of “Seeing Shadow” that were showed in the exhibition “Multiplex: Directions in Art, 1970 to Now” in 2007. These four works are all made of prints, silk and cotton threads embroidery by the artist. She uses the enlarged portraits as its basis for the former one while the demolished traditional buildings for the other one, being embodied with a different texture delicately. This time, NUNU FINE ART will also exhibit her “Seeing Shadow” in the show.

The Brooklyn Museum, New York

The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art is located on the 4th floor of the museum and it mainly exhibits predominantly contemporary feminist artworks all around the world. In 2007, the show “Global Feminisms” exhibited Lin Tianmiao’s “Focus”, which became the museum’s collection afterwards.

UCCA, Beijing

In 2008, “Our Future: The Guy & Myriam Ullens Foundation Collection” made a debut of a number of its collections with important preservation value, exhibiting the artworks that the artists responded to their socirty from 1990s to 2008, including Lin Tianmiao’s pieces. Also, in “M Home: Living in Space RedStar Macalline Art Project”, UCCA invited Lin to join the show with other 11 artists to talk about the aesthetic and spiritual thinking of people and their home space. In this show, Lin created a work named “Protruding Patterns” embroidered with hundreds of  description phrases of women on a red carpet.

STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery

In 2006, Lin Tianmiao was invited by STPI in Singapore to create her first published print works “Focus”. Compared to the “Focus” made by cotton, silk and canvas five years ago, this time Lin turned original images into prints then embroidered with silk threads, trying to make a breakthrough to challenge the traditional way of printmaking. STPI has most of Lin’s print works that time. It is an internationally known institute that has a deep research in printmaking and paper-making; thus, a number of top artists love to join its residency project, where they could experiment various materials and surmount boundaries of all kinds of artistic creation.

M Plus, Hong Kong

Uli Sigg, a well-known collector, decided to donated the bulk of his Chinese contemporary art collection after 1970s to M+, including Lin Tianmiao’s “Braiding”. It is a 4 meters high, 2.5 meters wide artwork with numerous threads embroidering as a thick braid on a printed surface of a huge fuzzy figure. The museum also collects Lin’s “There is No Fun of It”, which was once exhibited in the show “Mark of Existence: Art Workshop in Process” in The Experimental Studio of the Contemporary Art, Beijing, China. In this work,  threads were wrapped  into a 2.5 meters-diameter cotton ball with a thread connecting to the embroidered words “There is No Fun of It” on the wall.

The Others : The Museum of Modern Art, New York / The Brooklyn Museum, New York / The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing / STPI -Creative Workshop & Gallery, Singapore / Mplus Museum, Hong Kong / International Center of Photography, New York / Asia Society & Museum, New York / San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco / Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Santa Barbara Museum of Art, US / National Gallery Singapore / Samsung Museum of Art, Korea FUKUOKA Asian Art Museum, Japan / Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong / Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong / National Gallery of Australia / White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney / Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation / DSL Collection DSL Collection, France