Michael LinTaipei / Brussels
Born in Tokyo, Japan in 1964. Lives and works in Taipei and Brussels
Michael Lin is a multi-disciplinary artist known for his large-scale installations and iconic floral motifs. Having gained recognition in the 1990s for his immersive approach to exhibitions, Lin’s artworks generally embody a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the contemporary cultures of commercialization and commodification.
The most recognizable element of his work is the recurring appearance of floral patterns, inspired by Taiwanese textile design from the 1960s, which Lin associates with the social and political atmosphere of the country. The patterns usually appear as murals painted directly onto architectural surfaces or painted on materials such as wood or metal. Variations of the pattern have enveloped gallery interiors, museum façades (such as the exterior of the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2010) and daily objects such as furniture and tableware, challenging traditional notions of painting and its function. In Lin’s installations, painting ceases to be a passive receiver of the viewer’s gaze and instead occupies the space of the viewer.
Recurrent themes of nostalgia, personal history and collective memory are embedded in Lin’s work. For the exhibition What Difference a Day Made (2008) at the Shanghai Gallery of Art, Lin reconstructed a local Shanghainese store inside the gallery space. He painstakingly catalogued the objects found in the actual store and displayed them in crates as if precious artefacts; these mundane domestic objects served as vehicles to counter amnesia in the face of rapid urbanization in Shanghai.
Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.