Li Lin

Li Lin is represented by 798 Photogallery, China’s first gallery that specialised in photography.

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His landscape format photographs show an ‘inhabited emptiness’ if that makes sense. Lots of space counterbalanced by evidence of human development. A common colour theme emphasises a sense of unreality.

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The framing and composition suggests alien intrusions that seem to be transforming rural China at an ever-increasing speed.

Woods Lot’s recent post concerning Heideggers view on the tool,

The peculiarity of what is proximally ready-to-hand is that, in its readiness-to-hand, it must, as it were, withdraw in order to be ready-to-hand quite authentically. That with which our everyday dealings proximally dwell is not the tools themselves. On the contrary, that with which we concern ourselves primarily is the work — that which is to be produced at the time; and this is accordingly ready-to-hand too. The work bears with it that referential totality within which the equipment is encountered.

reminded me of Adorno’s statement that for art to be ‘modern’ and relevant, the tool had also to be a part of the modern world. The exagerated  digital quality of Li Lin’s colours seem to emphasise the gap between the modern and the rural , the almost cognitive dissonance, that the people who populate Li Lin’s landscapes must feel.

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This theme of ‘stranger in a strange land’ when the stranger is the original resident of the landscape is an old one, but the speed of change in China, and China’s relationship to the more developed world is one that is a fertile ground  for Chinese artists.


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