Lin Tianmiao’s work examines the relationship between the body, identity, and social contexts. Portraiture has a particular significance to Lin, raised in Communist China when only representations of Mao Zedong were allowed—an imbalance her intimate portraits are meant to counter. In Focus No. 30, a woman’s head is blurred and nearly obscured by round sculptural elements made of cotton fiber through a thread-weaving technique Lin developed. The cotton references childhood memories of helping her mother sew her own clothing, yet transforms, as Lin says, “something soft into something aggressive.”
Much of Lin’s work challenges prescriptive notions of femininity and womanhood. As a result, she is often described as a feminist artist, but Western feminism does not does not directly translate to her native China. Along with challenging notions of femininity, the artist confronts Western projections onto and readings of her work, reminding us that there is a world beyond our own.
From the 2020 exhibition Reconstitution, curated by Jessica Hong, Associate Curator of Global Contemporary Art
Reconstitution, Dorothy and Churchill P. Lathrop Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 2, 2020 - June 20, 2021.
John R. Stomberg, The Hood Now: Art and Inquiry at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2019, p. 198, ill. plate no. 129.
Grace Alexander Contemporary Art Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland, date unknown; Anonymous gift; given to present collection, 2018.
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