Chen Lin is a graduate of the Department of Printmaking, CAFA, 2017, who was admitted to CAFA with a good mark in 2005, and studied in the Department of Printmaking, CAFA from September 2005 to June 2009, she received a bachelor’s degree, and then studied in the Department of Printmaking, CAFA from September 2011, receiving a master’s degree in 2017. Her graduation works were on show at the CAFA Art Museum. Chen has been a mother, filled with happiness, finishing the interview with the sentiment of life.
Interview Time: May 26, 2017
Interviewee: Chen Lin (hereinafter referred to as Chen)
Interviewer: Zhong Yuwei (hereinafter referred to as CAFA ART INFO)
Editor: Lin Jiabin
Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
“I try to break through the understanding of geometric abstraction, breaking through the description limited by the canvas, to expand a sense of hierarchy of the visual form. In addition to the form and visual aesthetic, it is able to convey the spirit and symbolism, as well as the personal uniqueness and cognition of the artistic creator.”
– Chen Lin
CAFA ART INFO: I learned that you majored in printmaking but your graduation creation is not a print. Have you ever had a cross-border creation before? Could you talk about the reason and experience of the cross-border creation?
Chen: I studied in the 2nd studio of the Department of Printmaking during the undergraduate study period, and it was rich in curricula, basically involving several types of prints and materials, in addition, we also had a unique course in paper art. Rather than printmaking, for my graduation work I selected paper art communication, created a large-scale installation, finished through a concave-convex piece, printed with the printmaking language. Because CAFA promotes that all students are accessible and free to choose the courses in all faculties, I chose a lot of courses in other departments and I would like to find my favorite art language from a variety of experiments. This is not a change in the graduate study period, and I was never fixed in the direction of printmaking. My postgraduate tutor is Prof. Tan Ping, who came from the Department of Printmaking, and his creation has always been through open thoughts, which also left an impact on me, and I hope my thinking is more open during the graduate study period.
CAFA ART INFO: In the process of cross-border creation, did the learning and training of printmaking bring you any help and influence?
Chen: The study and training of printmaking took the longest time in my undergraduate study period resulting in a subtle impact on me. Taking silk screen print as an example, the production process is very orderly and the screen must be very clean, so it asks you to become a very delicate person. I used to be extensive when I painted, but the printmaking study helped me form a better way of working, so my current creations are very clean. My creation stemmed from the concept of concave-convex of the etching, and the installation of paper art for the graduation creation which also involved concave-convex.
CAFA ART INFO: Your work is both abstract and minimal but it is not minimalism, but the minimal in the language of art. There are a variety of languages of abstract art, why did you choose this language?
Chen: I wanted to show the feelings of all aspects of my life, all the changes including the feeling of music, emotional changes of my life, the feeling of the air of the city of Beijing, as well as being married and having a child. A different shape gives a different feeling, using the convergence between the color and shape to offer people a subtle feeling. When I choose a shape, it is necessary to find a coherent point through a collision.
CAFA ART INFO: Both the color and formal language are very smooth and steady in your works, are they related to your creative state, would you like to tell us your feeling at that time?
Chen: I display a group of works that occupy one-third of the works created during my graduate study period, I selected these works when I was full of happiness, instead of pain or disappointment, I was able to finish a few in this period. It is because of my happy life and my personal character. My family is full of love, with my mother that is selfless and dedicated, a lovely baby and my husband greatly supporting me, so that I am not anxious. Once people are not anxious, the mentality is very peaceful, and they have more time to think of the screen, creating a stable work, rather than being impetuous. I think a person is happy when he gives up the unnecessary things, and they are happy when they can continue to do the things they want to do, or doing the thing that they can do well.
CAFA ART INFO: You were pregnant and bearing a child which was a great turning point in the creative process for you, did this event influence your creation?
Chen: The experience of childbearing has become a work of my creation. I think the stories, emotions and experiences should go hand in hand, accompanied by my works. I am not deeply touched by it now, but I think it will be interesting after several years, and I will make it an art work. Taking the experience of being pregnant and bearing a child as an example, it is an important thing in the life of a woman and I will display it in my work.
CAFA ART INFO: Many domestic audiences still retain the interpretation of the iconography and iconology during the appreciation of the works, and the audience generally believe that abstract works of art are difficult to read, so the development of abstract art is more frustrating. What do you think of this problem? Do the abstract artists hope the audience are able to read the work?
Chen: I hope I could be understood by others which is a demand. Of course, many people have also this demand, but it does not mean that everyone is able to understand you, which is also impossible. In the beginning, the creation made me painful, because my family would ask me why I did these things and people could not understand after I had painted for many years, but I thought it was worthwhile when someone understood it.
Photo courtesy of the artist.