Transcript: Lin Yilin interview

Lin Yilin: Art, My Way

(Original language: Cantonese)

LIN YILIN: When I create art, I always want to do something that no one else has done before or something that's challenging to me. The concept I envisioned [for my early works] wasn't about any city but about Guangzhou specifically.

I have spent so many years there. I've seen the city constantly changing and evolving since I was young. This kind of transformation has gone hand in hand with China's development.

That energy… you just naturally harness that energy [to create art].

One time around Chinese New Year, [I] visited my secondary school teacher with a group of secondary school friends. It was somewhere near Daxin Road. There are some arcade buildings there and the arcades were pretty run-down. Since it was around Chinese New Year, there weren't a lot of people. The migrants had all gone home.

That morning, when I saw the arcades, they felt a bit alien, but at the same time they evoked my nostalgia for my childhood or maybe it was a kind of homesickness. So I thought, ‘what can I do with these arcades?’

Later on, I was at the Havana Biennial in Cuba and I saw people walking on stilts. I thought that I could maybe include them in my work.

I actually don't really live within a Western context. Although I've spent a relatively long time in the West, my mindset doesn’t align with its culture. I live there, but I exist outside of Western society, so there's a sense of displacement.

It's a challenge that artists are faced with in a globalised world. We'll slowly get used to this globalised way of creating, which will likely belong to the artists themselves. The value for the audience will be best understood through experiencing a series of works by an artist instead of just a single work.

I like doing things that I’m not sure I can pull off whether it's because of my body or my ability. I'll always do everything possible to realise my ideas and I'll slowly figure out the right way forward over the course of that process.

This is my particular style of realising [my ideas].

There's a high chance people will find this method clumsy. But it is very likely one of my personal ways to create art.

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