A Tale of Feasts Given—Lin Shihyung Solo Exhibition

A Tale of Feasts Given—Lin Shihyung Solo Exhibition

Date:2014.8.2 ~ 2014.9.7
Reception:2014.8.9 15:00
Curator:Chung Chinghsin

Banana Men: A Combination of Illusion and Mind Image

For him, his family is probably a burden that is too heavy to be left behind in his life. However, every moment in the past of his family no doubt plays an important and meaningful role to sustain his existence.

Born in 1982 in Hsinchu, Lin Shihyung returned home for a new start when he was twenty-five years old. His first creations since then seemed to have awakened some childhood memories that he had been long unwilling to face. Those unpleasant memories came from countless moving experiences of his family when he was a kid and his reluctance not only to constantly adapt himself to new environments but to force himself to get mature soon. Also, dogmas and norms laid down by a large extended family had forced him to escape and jump into the ridiculous outside world. It isn’t until he got along well with his dark other half—the phantom that had haunted him for years—could he finally create some works to complete himself.

It is one of the noblest acts for a man to be able to face and accept his inner fragility. With various series of works, Lin has presented his understanding of different life phases and his own family history. And starting from Grandparents series in 2007, Lin has been tracing the origin of his family and developing his own style of creation with keen observation. Later in Initiation Rite series, he elaborated on the ceremony that children must go through before they turn adult, abandon their natural selves and enter the society. In this series, Lin adopted images of childhood games and playthings such as jumping ropes, tambourines and hand games in order to suggest the cruelty, reward and punishment grown-ups are doomed to confront in reality. As for Feed series, it has evolved from one of the artist’s unpleasant eating experiences in the winter of 2009 when he lived in a village in Beijing. After Lin ate the special dish called “furry eggs,” a wave of nausea engulfed him. Such a disgusting eating experience accidentally inspired Lin and made him visualize some strange images. He further realized that cultural differences could directly impact on our behavior and thinking. And such philosophy was later extended to the creation of Under Shuiyuan and All in the homology series. When the elders are “feeding” their family members, the act symbolizes a two-way connection of giving and receiving either tangible food or intangible force of nature. And in the inseparable cycle of reincarnation, such an act also implies a close relationship between human and the land. In other words, if we are humble to Mother Nature, she will reward us with a gentle feedback.

Every time after I watch Lin’s works, I feel my heartbeat accelerated and then my heart is filled with gratitude since the images of his paintings reveal a strong but tranquil nostalgia. Although you may spot some signs of awkwardness that make you uneasy and even feel suffocating, the emotional shackles still exhibit some sort of warmth and braveness. While watching his works, we viewers may have a deep conversation with ourselves. Also, in these works with the artist’s deliberate composition of character dressing-up and photographing, we not only see continuous interaction between id and subject but also incessant cycles of division and unity.

A Tale of Feasts Given can be seen to be the artist’s portrait of his other self: the dark, ugly and helpless other self that has been long hidden in the corner. It is also the other self that has been constantly distrusted but been later trusted. I hope the mysterious banana-headed man can be always there so as to allow the self-separation to sometimes reappear. And only in the cycles that the two selves separate and meet can the faith be formed and can a person live a life of completeness and respect.

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