Poster of Lin Yan 598x399 - Fou Gallery announces "Lin Yan: Gateway" opening on December 2

Fou Gallery is pleased to announce that the new exhibition Lin Yan: Gateway will be on view from December 2, 2017  to February 10, 2018. For this exhibition, Lin creates an environment with Xuan paper and ink that incorporates the gallery’s early 20th century brownstone’s architectural elements. Lin uses Xuan paper and ink to cast or highlight the features in the parlor room such as the foliating molding surrounding the windows, the embellished radiator, the hollowed-out fireplace, the ornamental details of the ceiling, and the double doors – a gateway to the gallery. Sculpted paper paintings will be installed in juxtaposition with this portal and the space’s windows. Negative spaces enclosed in these crafted paper become filled with spirituality awakened by natural and artificial lights. Lin changes our relationships with ordinary objects and enriches our everyday realities with art. The exhibition also presents some of Lin’s recent smaller works.

Lin’s practice examines the relationships between architecture and space, and humans and nature. Rapid urbanization and globalization have lead cities to have similar appearances: skylines with cloud-capped skyscrapers. However, Lin sensitively seeks for the unique cultural elements among similar spaces, such as the remnants of walls after the demolition of Beijing’s historical courtyard alleys, the intertwined water pipes in Hong Kong’s industrial buildings, and the reclaimed street paving bricks marked with words and dates in Brooklyn’s old districts.

Handmade Xuan paper has been traditionally used for Chinese painting and calligraphy. Using crumbled layers of hand-made paper with ink, Lin casts daily objects and architectural elements into sculpted paper paintings and creates a paradoxical effect of a post-industrial feeling. As Lin suggests: “Xuan paper is renowned for its soft, fine textured and translucent quality. Its language resonates with my painterly sensation, and passion for space and color. The simple, primitive and imperfect quality of handmade paper penetrates one’s heart.” Since 2013, Lin Yan has been doing site-specific installations in public art spaces and alternative art spaces, in response to their specific architectural characteristics. Crossing the border between painting and sculpture, she activates various spaces by hanging works from the ceiling, placing them on the floor or incorporating them into the architectural elements. By changing the relationship between people and ordinary spaces she makes their formal function appear.

The exhibition title Gateway is simple and straightforward – windows and a gate made of Xuan paper and the pathway in between. It also implies everyday wisdom and philosophy. In Chinese proverbs, the word “gateway” refers to the wisdom learned from daily life. Various English versions of Tao Te Ching (D. C. Lau, 1963; Tam C. Gibbs, 1981; John R. Leebrick, 1980) use the word “gateway” to indicate the pathway of the Essential and the approach to all indescribable marvels. Similarly, Lin’s art is rooted in her encounters with daily life, but transcends the reality with multiple layers of interpretation, including respect towards traditional culture, the mourning of cultural breakage, concern about environmental devastation, and the response to drastic social changes. Combining the physical texture of the gate and the abstract vision of the pathway, Lin encompasses a gateway of the wonderful essence in arts and life.

About the exhibition

Dates: December 2, 2017 – February 10, 2018

Opening Reception: December 2, 2017, 5-8 pm

Venue: Fou Gallery

Courtesy of the artist and Fou Gallery, for further information please contact Jiawen Song  (; 1.917.628.5668) or visit

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