Lin Yan

Chinese artist, Lin Yan is renown for her elaborate pieces constructed of Xuan paper. She creates site-specific installations that respond to her surrounding environment and architecture. A type of traditional, hand-made paper conventionally used for painting and calligraphy, Lin’s works with Xuan paper have been included in museum and gallery exhibitions worldwide.

In 1994, responding to the demolition of her native Beijing’s historic buildings and districts, she began casting surfaces of old buildings in Beijing in Xuan paper, attempting to preserve traditional architectural features, such as roof tiles and rivets, after their demolition.

She was originally trained as an oil painter, but in 2005, Xuan paper became the main medium used in her work. She creates sculptural paper pieces with soft, crumbled layers of paper. Many of her works include the black ink, often negotiating the contrasts between black and white, hard and soft, as well as darkness and light.

Since 2013, Lin Yan has been doing site-specific installations in public art spaces and alternative art spaces. Significant installations include Embracing Stillness (2013) at the Flatiron Prow Art Space (New York); Sky (2014) at Yuan Art Museum (Beijing); Tenri Culture Institute (New York)and Sky 2 (2017) at White Rabbit, Sydney.

In 2017, Lin embarked on a public art project series, entitled Regeneration of Hope. Each of the site-specific installations are named after the seven stars of The Big Dipper. In China the Big Dipper is often regarded as the symbol for direction. To date, Lin Yan has completed Dubhe (Tianshu) at Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art (Yinchuan, China); Merak (Tianxuan) at Jinji Lake Art Museum (Suzhou, China) and Phekda (Tianji) at Wanying Museum (Shijiazhuang, China).

Lin Yan graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, and later studied at L’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris and Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. Her work is included in numerous permanent collections including Chengdu Contemporary Art Museum, Deutsche Bank Art Corporate Citizenship (New York), Museum of Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing), National Museum of China (Beijing), Long Museum (Shanghai), and White Rabbit Gallery (Sydney), among others.