Michael LIN 林明弘

Michael LIN is internationally known for his painted walls and floors with amplified traditional floral motifs inspired by traditional textiles from various cultures. His practice is characterized by embellishment and visual exuberance, and his site-specific works seek to create transformations within the space in which he works. Viewer interaction is an important component in his works, which “efficiently demonstrate a major precept of contemporary art in our time: art is not simply something to be looked at, it is to be experienced in real time, often through tangible means,” as described by Pauline Yao, curator of Hong Kong’s M+ Museum. To Lin, “Exhibition” is the “medium” of his work. While rationally exploring the exhibition as a cultural event, his works also reveal a rich poetic quality. His large-scale installations explore painting, design, ornamentation, and culture through an interaction with architecture. The appropriation of everyday objects and patterns all derive from his personal environment and allow him to go beyond the beautiful and the sublime. His installations are environments or aesthetic slices of life that invite the viewer to share the space of art and architecture in socially contemplative ways.

  • 1964 Born in Tokyo, Japan
  • 1990 BFA, Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design, Los Angeles, California,
    USA
  • 1993 MFA, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California, USA
  • Currently lives and works in Brussels, Belgium; Shanghai, China ; Taipei, Taiwan

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

    2019

  • “24/7 A PROPOSITION”, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
    2018

  • “One Plus One”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
    2017

  • “Federation”, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
    2016

  • “New Paradise”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “Locomotion”, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila, Philippines
  • “A Tale of Today”, Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai, China
    2015

  • SCAD Museum of Art, Savanna, USA
  • High Museum of Art, Atlanta, USA
    2013

  • “Place Libre”, Tang Contemporary, Beijing, China
  • Project 1- Hong Kong, China
    2012

  • “Painting”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, USA
  • “Model Home”, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • “Shanghai Daily “, Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai, China
    2011

  • Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo, Vigo, Spain
  • Towada Art Center, Towada, Japan
  • Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona, Spain
    2010

  • Centro Per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy
  • Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
    2009

  • “I am the Sun”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Artium, Fukuoka, Japan
    2008

  • Shanghai Gallery of Art, Shanghai, China
  • IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
    2007

  • Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona, Spain
  • O.K. Centrum, Linz, Austria
    2006

  • ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
    2005

  • Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria
  • The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
  • Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona, Spain
    2004

  • ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, USA
  • Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis, USA
  • PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, USA
    2003

  • Palais de Tokyo, Site de Creation Contemporaine, Paris, France
  • Moroso Showroom, Milan, Italy
  • Galerie Urs Meile, Luzern,Switzerland
    2002

  • Galerie Tanit, Munich, Germany
  • Stroom Den Haag, Hague, Netherlands
  • Galerie Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris, France
  • Palais de Tokyo, Site de Creation Contemporaine, Paris, France
    2000

  • Artstyl.com, Paris, France
    1999

  • IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
    1998

  • Dimensions Endowment of Art, Taipei, Taiwan
    1996

  • IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
    1994

  • IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

    2018

  • “Brilliant City”, David Zwirner, Hong Kong, China
    2017

  • “Cities, Grow in Difference “, Shenzhen Biennial of Urbanism and Architecture, Shenzhen, China
  • “Enjoy. Art Meets Amusement”, Chiostro del Bramante, Rome, Italy
  • “Fantasy Access Code”, Royal Palace Milan, Milan, Italy
  • “Myth/ History II”, Yuz Museum Shanghai, Shanghai, China
    2015

  • “Testimony Of Food”, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
    2014

  • “Bloom: ESLITE GALLERY 25th Anniversary”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “POST POP”, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
  • “Topophilia”, BANK, Shanghai, China
  • “M-HOME”, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art- Beijing, China
  • “Shanghai Biennial- The Making Of A Museum”, Aurora Museum, Shanghai, China
  • “Silence”, Balice Hertling Gallery, Paris, France
    2013

  • “Reading”, Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai, China
  • “Cross Strait Relations”, Anna-Maria & Stephen Kellen Gallery, New York, USA
  • “PAINT(erly)”, BANK, Shanghai, China
  • “California Pacific Triennial”, OCMA, Newport Beach, USA
  • “If You Were to Live Here”, Auckland Triennial, Auckland, New Zealand
  • “Rolling”, Seoul Art Museum, Seoul, Korea
    2012

  • “Time Games”, Taipei Fine Art Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “Encounter: The Royal Academy In Asia”, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE College of Arts, Singapore
    2011

  • “Open House”, Singapore Biennial, Singapore
  • “The Couple Show”, Shanghai Gallery of Art, Shanghai, China
    2010

  • “The Burden of Representation”, Osage Gallery, Hong Kong, China
  • “Atelier Michael Lin”, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France
  • “Memories of the Future”, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
  • “Popping Up”, Hong Kong Arts Center, Hong Kong, China
    2009

  • “Mixed Bathing”, Beppu Project, Beppu, Japan
  • “The Tree”, James Cohan Gallery, Shanghai, China
  • “The Spectacle of the Everyday”, Lyon Biennial, Lyon, France
  • “Live and Let Live: Creators of Tomorrow”, Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Fukuoka, Japan
    2008

  • “The two-Person Exhibition by Michael Lin and Heidi Voet”, IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “Home”, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan
  • “Super Fengshui”, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
  • “Madrid Abierto” (in collaboration with Alicia Framis), Madrid, Spain
  • “Chanel Mobile Art”, Hong Kong, China; Tokyo, Japan; New York, USA
  • “Inaugural Exhibition”, Towada Art Center, Towada, Japan
  • “Far West Trading”, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK
  • “Artificial Nature”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China
    2007

  • “Space For Your Future”, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • “Schaurausch”, O.K. Centrum, Linz, Austria
  • “Through The ‘Painting’”, Special Projects, Second Moscow Biennale, Moscow, Russia
  • “Jardins Publics”, Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    2006

  • “Once Upon A Time…Contemporary Fairytale”, ARCOS Museo di Arte Contemporanea del Sannio, Benevento, Italy
  • “New Space”, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine
  • “Surplus Value”, Tang Contemporary Art Center, Beijing, China
  • “Parcour de Saint German”, Café de Flore, Paris, France
  • “Notre Histoire”, Palais de Tokyo, Site de Creation Contemporaine , Paris, France
  • “Asian Contemporary Art In Print”, Asia Society, New York, USA
    2005

  • “The Elegance Of Silence”, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
  • “About Beauty”, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
  • “MC1-Contemporary Chinese Art Biennial”, Montpellier, France
  • “Well Done”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “Experience De La Duree”, Lyon Biennial, Lyon, France
  • “Beyond”, Second Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou, China
  • “Joy”, Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
    2004

  • “Polyphony”, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan
  • “Odyssey”, Shanghai Gallery of Art, Shanghai, China
  • “Floral Habitat”, Bury St. Edmunds Art Gallery, Suffolk, United Kingdom
    2003

  • “Flower Power/Lille 2004”, Palais des Beaux Art, Lille, France
  • “The Fifth System: Public Art in the Age of ‘Post-Planning’”, Shenzhen Art Museum, Shenzhen, China
  • “Tiger’s Eye”, Proud Gallery, London, UK
  • “Painting 4”, Rose Art Museum, Waltham, USA
  • “Crossed”, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  • “Subversion and Poetry”, Culturgest, Lisbon, Portugal
  • “Bibliotherapy” (With Remy Markowitsch), Kuntsmuseum Luzern, Luzern, Switzerland
    2002

  • “Urgent Painting”, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France
  • “Asianvibe”, Espai d’Art Contemporani de Castello, Castellon, Spain
  • “Pause—Gwangju Biennial”, Gwangju Biennial Hall, Gwangju, Korea
  • “Synthetic”, Galerie Zurcher, Paris, France
  • “How Big Is The World?”, O.K.Centrum, Linz, Austria
  • Asian Art Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
  • “International 2002”, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • “The Gravity of The Immaterial”, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea
    2001

  • “The Gravity of The Immaterial”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “49th Venice Biennial”, Taiwan Pavilion, Venice, Italy
  • “7th Istanbul Biennial”, Istanbul, Turkey
  • “ARS O1”, Kiasma Museum, Helsinki, Finland
  • “Casino 2001”, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst Ghent, Ghent, Belgium
  • “Bibliotherapy”(With Remy Markowitsch), Villa Merkel, Esslingen, Germany
    2000

  • “The Sky is the Limit”, Taipei Biennial, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “Sister Space Project”, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, USA
  • “Very Fun Park”, Hong Kong Art Center, Hong Kong, China
  • “Festival of Vision/Berlin in Hong Kong”, Tamar Site, Hong Kong, China
    1999

  • “Visions of Pluralism”, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China
  • “Magnetic Writing/Marching Ideas”, IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Fukuoka Triennale, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan
  • KHOJ International Artists’ Association, Modinagar, India
    1998

  • “Tu Pales/J’Ecoute”, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan; La Ferme du Buisson, Paris, France
  • “Back from Home”, Bamboo Curtain Studio, Taipei, Taiwan
    1997

  • “IT Park Group Exhibition”, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “Allegory and Simulacra” , Gallery Pierre, Taichung, Taiwan
    1996

  • “Perimeter 4”, Gallery 456, New York, USA
    1995

  • “Transitional Site”, IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
    1994

  • “Post Marshall Law”, Gate Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “Art & Text”, National Normal College, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “The Indescribale Unknown”, IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan

PUBLIC COLLECTION

  • Deutsche Bank, Hong Kong, China
  • Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • College de Tallard, Tallard, France
  • Towada Art Center, Towada, Japan
  • Kyusyu University, Fukuoka, Japan
  • Blind Wall Project, Ghent, Belgium
  • Ullens Center of Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan
  • L’Ecole des Cigales, Beausoleil, France
  • Rogaland School of Art, Stavanger, Norway
  • Kunstlinie, Almere, The Netherlands
  • 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan
  • Guangdong Art Museum, Guangzhou, China
  • Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul, Turkey
  • National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan
  • Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan
Click on each year's works

Michael Lin – The Difference of the Same

By Pauline J. Yao

 

The work of artist Michael Lin concerns itself with the experience of limits. More accurately, it articulates a feeling of liminality, of being suspended between the spaces, places and moments of our daily lives. Through his practice, which hovers between painting and installation, and overlaps with fields of relational art, architecture, and design, we experience a fluid interrogation into the social and political dimensions of form. Like other artists working under the rubric of relational aesthetics Lin also engages with relational form—the utilization of the sphere of human relations as artistic medium—yet his engagements are more likely to assert values of difference rather than adhere to that movement’s tendency towards universalizing commonality. Himself a product of several cultures, Lin is especially attuned to the demarcations of such differences, and thus persistently questions not only the understanding of ‘culture’ in its specificity and its very formation, but also the workings of its erasure and undoing.

Historically, Michael Lin’s practice has aimed at transforming the conventions of how modern art functions—namely, the radical separation of art and its public. For Complementary (1998), he hung seven paintings of fabric designs on the wall of a gallery space and in the middle installed a daybed on which visitors were invited to sit, relax and recline among cushions carrying the same fabric designs. Viewers experienced a closing of the gap between the art object expressly made for individual visual consumption and an encounter which was designed to elicit human contact and shared interaction. The work efficiently demonstrated a major precept of contemporary art in our time: art is not simply something to be looked at, it is to be experienced in real time, often through tangible means. The project launched Lin’s ongoing fascination for using large-scale paintings of textile patterns to transform non-descript, transitional architectural spaces into ‘situations’ that introduced a dimension of social interaction and shared conviviality to the typically solitary art viewing experience.

Recently, Lin’s interests have turned away from the dynamics of space and towards an investigation into the contingencies of time and place. An example of this shift might be found in his recent solo show What a Difference a Day Made in 2008, in which the entire contents of a typical daily products store or 雜貨店zahuodian were purchased, catalogued, transported and re-arranged in a gallery space. The project prompted considerations of not only the formal qualities of such everyday items as colanders, spoons and fly swatters, but also the stoppage of time, achieved through isolating these objects from their place in history and locality and underscoring their soon-to-be-relic status within Shanghai’s rapidly developing society.

His current solo exhibition “I am the Sun”, however, proceeds from a different locale—the artist’s native place of Taiwan—and embodies a more nuanced set of concerns. The title alone indicates the passage and progression of time but, more importantly, links up the role of time with the formation of individual and cultural identities. One might say the works in the exhibition share a uniformity of difference—the notion of difference is internalized in the object (in this case paintings and photographs) at the same time as it is being expressed through certain visual strategies. “I am the Sun” is notable not only for its subject matter and size but its scope: it contains several series of paintings, wall murals, photographic prints and two “events” coordinated through eslite’s bookstore—all specially created for this occasion.

However, Lin’s return to a more conventional exhibition form, exhibiting discrete paintings and photographs rather than ‘site-specific’ installation based work is anything but predictable. He continues to mine cultural histories to powerful effect, bringing to light objects and symbols that speak to moments and territories of in-betweeness and thresholds of individual experience. Two examples are Untitled (2006-2008) based on the Tangram, a Chinese puzzle game consisting of seven flat geometrical shapes that are put together in different combinations to form shapes; and Untitled (2009), paintings of Chinese writing practice books, a common item used in Taiwan’s schools for language instruction. As objects themselves both represent processes of learning by invoking early stages of life when certain culturally encoded systems such as visuality and language are imprinted on our psyche, and yet the depiction of the books in reverse hints at an even further deconstruction. It is the structural breakdown of these systems—of images into objectifiable geometric parts, of language into pronounceable mono-syllabic components—which Lin calls attention to, highlighting the moment of flux and fluidity before these frameworks become solidified and later, internalized.

Lin’s choice of the logo and design of the infamous Taiwanese Sun Bakery comes from a similar motivation to explore innate systems of perception, but extends to include the limits of essentialized cultural symbols. The ‘original’ Sun Bakery in Taichung has become somewhat of a myth—whole streets are now lined with Sun Bakeries, one more eager than the next to proclaim its own status as the original. It is the meanings we attach to authenticity and uniqueness which Lin seeks to destabilize here, and the Sun Bakery, for all of its embodiments of ‘Taiwaneseness’ and cultural legitimacy, makes a particularly apt target. With one stroke Lin counteracts this iconic status. I am the Sun (2009) is the Sun Bakery logo stripped of all of its distinguishing trademarks, returning it to a generic, even monotonous, type of graphical form. This is carried through in the gift-giving event in which individual suncakes bearing Lin’s own self-designed logo and packaging are distributed for free to the public. Together with Lin’s time-based book wrapping event (the artist had every book in eslite art bookstore wrapped with floral wallpaper for a week-long period) these gestures also revisit the artist’s earlier dabbling in processes of social reciprocity and interaction and point to the potential for art to move beyond the limitations of the gallery context.

“520” (2008) is a series of 12 photographs taken by the artist on May 20, 2008 on his walk home from his studio in Shanghai. The date carries significance for the artist—it was the inauguration day of Taiwan’s new president Ma Yingjeou—and yet the newsstands he passed on the streets bear no evidence of this momentous occasion. For Lin, this lack of a trace becomes a trace itself, an indication of the paramount differences that exist politically even within a context of supposed parity, not to mention physical proximity. A series of photographs entitled Complementary (1998-2009) also evoke an eerie absence, yet here remains a trace, this time of human presence. The trace of time is also apparent, as photographs taken at different intervals over the course of the exhibition period track from light to dark suggesting the movement of the sun across the sky and the slow rotation of the earth. Inherent to this is the concept of repetition and recurrence, evident in Lin’s ‘blue paintings’ which use a form of disordered serial painting to drive home notions of sameness and subtle variation.

Viewing “I am the Sun”, one is confronted with the various ways in which we conceive, understand, and categorize our perceptions of difference and by that token, the limitations of our own self. The purposely rough, imperfect appearance of some of the canvases elicits another question – are these works even finished? – leaving us with the feeling that we have entered truly ambiguous territory, where the ground no longer feels solid beneath our feet. Through these works, Michael Lin continually reveals the elasticity of culture and visual form, inviting us to examine closer the potential of art as it occurs both within and outside the gallery’s walls.

    SOLO EXHIBITIONS

  • 2016 ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2012 ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2009 ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2006 ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2004 ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
    GROUP EXHIBITION

  • 2014 “Bloom: ESLITE GALLERY 25th Anniversary”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
蔡國強
CAI Guo-Qiang
  • 1964 Born in Tokyo, Japan
  • 1990 BFA, Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design, Los Angeles, California,
    USA
  • 1993 MFA, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California, USA
  • Currently lives and works in Brussels, Belgium; Shanghai, China ; Taipei, Taiwan

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

    2019

  • “24/7 A PROPOSITION”, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
    2018

  • “One Plus One”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
    2017

  • “Federation”, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
    2016

  • “New Paradise”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “Locomotion”, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila, Philippines
  • “A Tale of Today”, Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai, China
    2015

  • SCAD Museum of Art, Savanna, USA
  • High Museum of Art, Atlanta, USA
    2013

  • “Place Libre”, Tang Contemporary, Beijing, China
  • Project 1- Hong Kong, China
    2012

  • “Painting”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, USA
  • “Model Home”, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • “Shanghai Daily “, Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai, China
    2011

  • Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo, Vigo, Spain
  • Towada Art Center, Towada, Japan
  • Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona, Spain
    2010

  • Centro Per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy
  • Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
    2009

  • “I am the Sun”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Artium, Fukuoka, Japan
    2008

  • Shanghai Gallery of Art, Shanghai, China
  • IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
    2007

  • Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona, Spain
  • O.K. Centrum, Linz, Austria
    2006

  • ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
    2005

  • Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria
  • The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
  • Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona, Spain
    2004

  • ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, USA
  • Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis, USA
  • PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, USA
    2003

  • Palais de Tokyo, Site de Creation Contemporaine, Paris, France
  • Moroso Showroom, Milan, Italy
  • Galerie Urs Meile, Luzern,Switzerland
    2002

  • Galerie Tanit, Munich, Germany
  • Stroom Den Haag, Hague, Netherlands
  • Galerie Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris, France
  • Palais de Tokyo, Site de Creation Contemporaine, Paris, France
    2000

  • Artstyl.com, Paris, France
    1999

  • IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
    1998

  • Dimensions Endowment of Art, Taipei, Taiwan
    1996

  • IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
    1994

  • IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

    2018

  • “Brilliant City”, David Zwirner, Hong Kong, China
    2017

  • “Cities, Grow in Difference “, Shenzhen Biennial of Urbanism and Architecture, Shenzhen, China
  • “Enjoy. Art Meets Amusement”, Chiostro del Bramante, Rome, Italy
  • “Fantasy Access Code”, Royal Palace Milan, Milan, Italy
  • “Myth/ History II”, Yuz Museum Shanghai, Shanghai, China
    2015

  • “Testimony Of Food”, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
    2014

  • “Bloom: ESLITE GALLERY 25th Anniversary”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “POST POP”, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
  • “Topophilia”, BANK, Shanghai, China
  • “M-HOME”, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art- Beijing, China
  • “Shanghai Biennial- The Making Of A Museum”, Aurora Museum, Shanghai, China
  • “Silence”, Balice Hertling Gallery, Paris, France
    2013

  • “Reading”, Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai, China
  • “Cross Strait Relations”, Anna-Maria & Stephen Kellen Gallery, New York, USA
  • “PAINT(erly)”, BANK, Shanghai, China
  • “California Pacific Triennial”, OCMA, Newport Beach, USA
  • “If You Were to Live Here”, Auckland Triennial, Auckland, New Zealand
  • “Rolling”, Seoul Art Museum, Seoul, Korea
    2012

  • “Time Games”, Taipei Fine Art Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “Encounter: The Royal Academy In Asia”, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE College of Arts, Singapore
    2011

  • “Open House”, Singapore Biennial, Singapore
  • “The Couple Show”, Shanghai Gallery of Art, Shanghai, China
    2010

  • “The Burden of Representation”, Osage Gallery, Hong Kong, China
  • “Atelier Michael Lin”, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France
  • “Memories of the Future”, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
  • “Popping Up”, Hong Kong Arts Center, Hong Kong, China
    2009

  • “Mixed Bathing”, Beppu Project, Beppu, Japan
  • “The Tree”, James Cohan Gallery, Shanghai, China
  • “The Spectacle of the Everyday”, Lyon Biennial, Lyon, France
  • “Live and Let Live: Creators of Tomorrow”, Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Fukuoka, Japan
    2008

  • “The two-Person Exhibition by Michael Lin and Heidi Voet”, IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “Home”, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan
  • “Super Fengshui”, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
  • “Madrid Abierto” (in collaboration with Alicia Framis), Madrid, Spain
  • “Chanel Mobile Art”, Hong Kong, China; Tokyo, Japan; New York, USA
  • “Inaugural Exhibition”, Towada Art Center, Towada, Japan
  • “Far West Trading”, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK
  • “Artificial Nature”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China
    2007

  • “Space For Your Future”, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • “Schaurausch”, O.K. Centrum, Linz, Austria
  • “Through The ‘Painting’”, Special Projects, Second Moscow Biennale, Moscow, Russia
  • “Jardins Publics”, Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    2006

  • “Once Upon A Time…Contemporary Fairytale”, ARCOS Museo di Arte Contemporanea del Sannio, Benevento, Italy
  • “New Space”, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine
  • “Surplus Value”, Tang Contemporary Art Center, Beijing, China
  • “Parcour de Saint German”, Café de Flore, Paris, France
  • “Notre Histoire”, Palais de Tokyo, Site de Creation Contemporaine , Paris, France
  • “Asian Contemporary Art In Print”, Asia Society, New York, USA
    2005

  • “The Elegance Of Silence”, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
  • “About Beauty”, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
  • “MC1-Contemporary Chinese Art Biennial”, Montpellier, France
  • “Well Done”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “Experience De La Duree”, Lyon Biennial, Lyon, France
  • “Beyond”, Second Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou, China
  • “Joy”, Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
    2004

  • “Polyphony”, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan
  • “Odyssey”, Shanghai Gallery of Art, Shanghai, China
  • “Floral Habitat”, Bury St. Edmunds Art Gallery, Suffolk, United Kingdom
    2003

  • “Flower Power/Lille 2004”, Palais des Beaux Art, Lille, France
  • “The Fifth System: Public Art in the Age of ‘Post-Planning’”, Shenzhen Art Museum, Shenzhen, China
  • “Tiger’s Eye”, Proud Gallery, London, UK
  • “Painting 4”, Rose Art Museum, Waltham, USA
  • “Crossed”, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  • “Subversion and Poetry”, Culturgest, Lisbon, Portugal
  • “Bibliotherapy” (With Remy Markowitsch), Kuntsmuseum Luzern, Luzern, Switzerland
    2002

  • “Urgent Painting”, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France
  • “Asianvibe”, Espai d’Art Contemporani de Castello, Castellon, Spain
  • “Pause—Gwangju Biennial”, Gwangju Biennial Hall, Gwangju, Korea
  • “Synthetic”, Galerie Zurcher, Paris, France
  • “How Big Is The World?”, O.K.Centrum, Linz, Austria
  • Asian Art Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
  • “International 2002”, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • “The Gravity of The Immaterial”, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea
    2001

  • “The Gravity of The Immaterial”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “49th Venice Biennial”, Taiwan Pavilion, Venice, Italy
  • “7th Istanbul Biennial”, Istanbul, Turkey
  • “ARS O1”, Kiasma Museum, Helsinki, Finland
  • “Casino 2001”, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst Ghent, Ghent, Belgium
  • “Bibliotherapy”(With Remy Markowitsch), Villa Merkel, Esslingen, Germany
    2000

  • “The Sky is the Limit”, Taipei Biennial, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “Sister Space Project”, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, USA
  • “Very Fun Park”, Hong Kong Art Center, Hong Kong, China
  • “Festival of Vision/Berlin in Hong Kong”, Tamar Site, Hong Kong, China
    1999

  • “Visions of Pluralism”, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China
  • “Magnetic Writing/Marching Ideas”, IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Fukuoka Triennale, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan
  • KHOJ International Artists’ Association, Modinagar, India
    1998

  • “Tu Pales/J’Ecoute”, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan; La Ferme du Buisson, Paris, France
  • “Back from Home”, Bamboo Curtain Studio, Taipei, Taiwan
    1997

  • “IT Park Group Exhibition”, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “Allegory and Simulacra” , Gallery Pierre, Taichung, Taiwan
    1996

  • “Perimeter 4”, Gallery 456, New York, USA
    1995

  • “Transitional Site”, IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
    1994

  • “Post Marshall Law”, Gate Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “Art & Text”, National Normal College, Taipei, Taiwan
  • “The Indescribale Unknown”, IT Park Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan

PUBLIC COLLECTION

  • Deutsche Bank, Hong Kong, China
  • Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • College de Tallard, Tallard, France
  • Towada Art Center, Towada, Japan
  • Kyusyu University, Fukuoka, Japan
  • Blind Wall Project, Ghent, Belgium
  • Ullens Center of Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan
  • L’Ecole des Cigales, Beausoleil, France
  • Rogaland School of Art, Stavanger, Norway
  • Kunstlinie, Almere, The Netherlands
  • 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan
  • Guangdong Art Museum, Guangzhou, China
  • Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul, Turkey
  • National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan
  • Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan
Click on each year's works

Michael Lin – The Difference of the Same

By Pauline J. Yao

The work of artist Michael Lin concerns itself with the experience of limits. More accurately, it articulates a feeling of liminality, of being suspended between the spaces, places and moments of our daily lives. Through his practice, which hovers between painting and installation, and overlaps with fields of relational art, architecture, and design, we experience a fluid interrogation into the social and political dimensions of form. Like other artists working under the rubric of relational aesthetics Lin also engages with relational form—the utilization of the sphere of human relations as artistic medium—yet his engagements are more likely to assert values of difference rather than adhere to that movement’s tendency towards universalizing commonality. Himself a product of several cultures, Lin is especially attuned to the demarcations of such differences, and thus persistently questions not only the understanding of ‘culture’ in its specificity and its very formation, but also the workings of its erasure and undoing.

Historically, Michael Lin’s practice has aimed at transforming the conventions of how modern art functions—namely, the radical separation of art and its public. For Complementary (1998), he hung seven paintings of fabric designs on the wall of a gallery space and in the middle installed a daybed on which visitors were invited to sit, relax and recline among cushions carrying the same fabric designs. Viewers experienced a closing of the gap between the art object expressly made for individual visual consumption and an encounter which was designed to elicit human contact and shared interaction. The work efficiently demonstrated a major precept of contemporary art in our time: art is not simply something to be looked at, it is to be experienced in real time, often through tangible means. The project launched Lin’s ongoing fascination for using large-scale paintings of textile patterns to transform non-descript, transitional architectural spaces into ‘situations’ that introduced a dimension of social interaction and shared conviviality to the typically solitary art viewing experience.

Recently, Lin’s interests have turned away from the dynamics of space and towards an investigation into the contingencies of time and place. An example of this shift might be found in his recent solo show What a Difference a Day Made in 2008, in which the entire contents of a typical daily products store or 雜貨店zahuodian were purchased, catalogued, transported and re-arranged in a gallery space. The project prompted considerations of not only the formal qualities of such everyday items as colanders, spoons and fly swatters, but also the stoppage of time, achieved through isolating these objects from their place in history and locality and underscoring their soon-to-be-relic status within Shanghai’s rapidly developing society.

His current solo exhibition “I am the Sun”, however, proceeds from a different locale—the artist’s native place of Taiwan—and embodies a more nuanced set of concerns. The title alone indicates the passage and progression of time but, more importantly, links up the role of time with the formation of individual and cultural identities. One might say the works in the exhibition share a uniformity of difference—the notion of difference is internalized in the object (in this case paintings and photographs) at the same time as it is being expressed through certain visual strategies. “I am the Sun” is notable not only for its subject matter and size but its scope: it contains several series of paintings, wall murals, photographic prints and two “events” coordinated through eslite’s bookstore—all specially created for this occasion.

However, Lin’s return to a more conventional exhibition form, exhibiting discrete paintings and photographs rather than ‘site-specific’ installation based work is anything but predictable. He continues to mine cultural histories to powerful effect, bringing to light objects and symbols that speak to moments and territories of in-betweeness and thresholds of individual experience. Two examples are Untitled (2006-2008) based on the Tangram, a Chinese puzzle game consisting of seven flat geometrical shapes that are put together in different combinations to form shapes; and Untitled (2009), paintings of Chinese writing practice books, a common item used in Taiwan’s schools for language instruction. As objects themselves both represent processes of learning by invoking early stages of life when certain culturally encoded systems such as visuality and language are imprinted on our psyche, and yet the depiction of the books in reverse hints at an even further deconstruction. It is the structural breakdown of these systems—of images into objectifiable geometric parts, of language into pronounceable mono-syllabic components—which Lin calls attention to, highlighting the moment of flux and fluidity before these frameworks become solidified and later, internalized.

Lin’s choice of the logo and design of the infamous Taiwanese Sun Bakery comes from a similar motivation to explore innate systems of perception, but extends to include the limits of essentialized cultural symbols. The ‘original’ Sun Bakery in Taichung has become somewhat of a myth—whole streets are now lined with Sun Bakeries, one more eager than the next to proclaim its own status as the original. It is the meanings we attach to authenticity and uniqueness which Lin seeks to destabilize here, and the Sun Bakery, for all of its embodiments of ‘Taiwaneseness’ and cultural legitimacy, makes a particularly apt target. With one stroke Lin counteracts this iconic status. I am the Sun (2009) is the Sun Bakery logo stripped of all of its distinguishing trademarks, returning it to a generic, even monotonous, type of graphical form. This is carried through in the gift-giving event in which individual suncakes bearing Lin’s own self-designed logo and packaging are distributed for free to the public. Together with Lin’s time-based book wrapping event (the artist had every book in eslite art bookstore wrapped with floral wallpaper for a week-long period) these gestures also revisit the artist’s earlier dabbling in processes of social reciprocity and interaction and point to the potential for art to move beyond the limitations of the gallery context.

“520” (2008) is a series of 12 photographs taken by the artist on May 20, 2008 on his walk home from his studio in Shanghai. The date carries significance for the artist—it was the inauguration day of Taiwan’s new president Ma Yingjeou—and yet the newsstands he passed on the streets bear no evidence of this momentous occasion. For Lin, this lack of a trace becomes a trace itself, an indication of the paramount differences that exist politically even within a context of supposed parity, not to mention physical proximity. A series of photographs entitled Complementary (1998-2009) also evoke an eerie absence, yet here remains a trace, this time of human presence. The trace of time is also apparent, as photographs taken at different intervals over the course of the exhibition period track from light to dark suggesting the movement of the sun across the sky and the slow rotation of the earth. Inherent to this is the concept of repetition and recurrence, evident in Lin’s ‘blue paintings’ which use a form of disordered serial painting to drive home notions of sameness and subtle variation.

Viewing “I am the Sun”, one is confronted with the various ways in which we conceive, understand, and categorize our perceptions of difference and by that token, the limitations of our own self. The purposely rough, imperfect appearance of some of the canvases elicits another question – are these works even finished? – leaving us with the feeling that we have entered truly ambiguous territory, where the ground no longer feels solid beneath our feet. Through these works, Michael Lin continually reveals the elasticity of culture and visual form, inviting us to examine closer the potential of art as it occurs both within and outside the gallery’s walls.

    SOLO EXHIBITIONS

  • 2016 ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2012 ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2009 ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2006 ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2004 ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
    GROUP EXHIBITION

  • 2014 “Bloom: ESLITE GALLERY 25th Anniversary”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan