LIN Yilin

Golden Journey  (2011), video still, courtesy of the artist

Golden Journey (2011), video still, courtesy of the artist


golden journey

2011, single-channel video, sound, 16’40”

Golden Journey is a result of the artist’s three-monthresidency in San Francisco in 2011. After observation ofthe city’s geographic and cultural environments and some exploration of its histories of migration and immigration, LIN conceived of and created a series of performances with political metaphors at San Francisco landmarks and tourist attractions. Performances included playing cards under an American flag next to the Golden Gate Bridge, dragging a costume lion head through Chinatown, and slowly rolling down Lombard Street. Through hisprovocative urban interventions, including the repetitiveand continuous performing of simple actions and gestures not commonly conducted – such as rolling on the groundin public – he seeks to disrupt the general order of dailylife on the street and interfere with the normal behaviours of people around. LIN creatively explores the complex relationships between humans and our built environments and between materialisations of the body and those social impacts. Golden Journey was realized with the participation of San Francisco Art Institute students,which constitutes an important dimension of LIN’s artistic practices. Through artistic interventions and actions, the artist merges with the participants, even with people on the street, to create a temporary community and in so doing, implies his dream of turning cities into places of shared idealism and freedom.

Drive Shaft  (1996), video still, courtesy of the artist

Drive Shaft (1996), video still, courtesy of the artist


Drive shaft

1996, video, sound, 16’43”

The video documents the artist moving a cinderblock wall through the streets of Hong Kong, producing a scene insharp contrast to the people busily rushing down the streets. Hong Kong today is facing acute social changes; evensocial infrastructures have been severely affected. Byinscribing the names of various government departmentson one side of the wall and those of politicians, political parties and organizations on the other, theartist transforms the wall into a “social construction”.

He repeatedly removes the components – cinder blocks inscribed with names – from the “physical construction”, and constantly transports the wall to the next destination. In the end, the words on the wall begin to blur and fade, andpreviously recognizable names are rendered meaningless. During the four days in which the artist performed thiswork, he had to deal with several unexpected incidents.On the first evening, some people moved the wall from theoverpass and rearranged it in a way to prevent pedestriansfrom accessing the overpass. On the afternoon of the next day, while the artist was moving the wall, some residents filed complaints and the Highways Department immediately sent an officer to stop the performance and remove the artist. On the third day, the performance wascalled off because of rain. On the fourth and final day, the wall was transported to its final destination but wastorn down the next day by the Highways Department stating that it might threaten the safety of pedestrians.


LIN Yilin

Born 1964 in Guangzhou, lives and works in Beijing and New York

LIN Yilin is noted for his conceptual practice thatembraces sculpture, installation and photography as well as live performance and video. His works integrate socialarchitectures and everyday life in an energetic and wittymanner. LIN co-founded the Big Tail Elephants Group in 1990, together with XU Tan, and the late CHEN Shaoxiong and LIANG Juhui. He has had solo exhibitions at Arrow Factory, Beijing (2009); The Land Foundation, Chiang Mai, and Tang Contemporary Art, Bangkok (2010–11);San Francisco Art Institute Walter and McBean Galleries, San Francisco (2012); and Video Bureau, Beijing (2014).Additionally, the Big Tail Elephant Group has beenfeatured in exhibitions at Kunsthalle Bern (1998) andTimes Museum, Guangzhou (2016). International groupexhibitions and biennials include Gwangju Biennial(2002); Guangzhou Triennial (2002); Venice Biennale(2003 and 2015); Lyon Biennial (2009); Go Figure: FiveContemporary Videos, Asia Society, New York (2010); A Line Made by Walking, Haifa Museum of Art, Israel (2011); and Art and China after 1989: Theatre of the World and One Hand Clapping, both at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

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