China (b. 1961)
Focus 1X B
Typically using materials associated with women’s work, such as yarn, cotton and silk textiles, needles, and a variety of housewares and everyday objects, Lin Tianmao has often been labeled a feminist artist, a label she does not espouse.
An installation artist whose work bares the mark of a textile designer through the materials she uses, she claims that her work does not explore gender relations but the relationship between tradition and modernization. While she accepts that her work inadvertently brings attention to women, she is less interested in women’s social standing or circumstances, and more in the inner workings and psychological state of the individual, even her own. Furthermore, she attributes the ubiquitous presence of these “womanly” materials to her previous experience as designer and her childhood when she spent time helping her mother with household chores.
In Focus IX B, Lin’s portrait in a misty palette of gray and white, prevalent hues in most of her work, and is flecked with holes and out-curved circular markings, which shift the viewer’s perspective, as if the portrait gradually fades as the viewer steps closer.
About the Artist
One of the first women artists from China to gain international acclaim and tackle installation and video production, Lin Tianmiao was born in 1961 in Taiyuan, China, to parents who taught her traditional arts. Her father was an accomplished traditional painter and master calligrapher, while her mother was a traditional dancer.
She received a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Capital Normal University in Beijing in 1984 and set out to become a textile designer, transitioning into art later. In 1988, she moved to Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, artist Wang Gongxin, where she lived until 1995, and worked as a textile designer. In 1995, the couple returned to China and Tianmiao currently lives and works in Beijing.
Tianmiao’s work can be found in the collections of many museums around the world, including in New York at the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum. It is also in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the M+ in Hong Kong, the Singapore Art Museum, and in many private collections. Lin’s work has been exhibited in many countries, with solo exhibitions at prestigious galleries in Paris, Beijing, New York, Shanghai, and San Francisco, among many other cities.