Seeing Shadows LTM611D

STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery

Seeing Shadows LTM611D

About Artwork

For Seeing Shadows LTM 611D (2008), the artwork “uses abstraction as a strategy to reflect on progress and tradition in contemporary China. In this lithograph, landscapes are reduced to blurred, monochrome images with an ephemeral quality. Embossed into the surface of the handmade paper are swirls of white lines made to look like threads[…] The texture of the paper, the tonal variations of grey, and the random patterns of the swirls of thread become the focus when the work is viewed up close. Attention shifts from these details, however, to the underlying images that emerge, when the work is seen from afar. From this distanced perspective, the blurred outlines clarify enough to make out the scenes of dilapidated Chinese-style residential buildings from Beijing’s hutong neighbourhoods.

The use of blurred imagery works on two levels of meaning. On one level, the diffuse nature of the images represents the physical disappearance of these historic residential areas, many of which have been demolished to give way to shiny shopping malls and high-rise office buildings. On another level, the process by which the blurred outlines achieve clarity when viewed from a distance becomes a metaphor for how humans begin to develop understanding from the material forms encountered by our senses. Lin’s blurred pictures and embedded threads become traces of the traditional culture that is slowly fading away as globalisation and progress transform the landscape of contemporary China.

Artist Profile

As one of the few internationally recognised Chinese female artists, Lin Tianmiao has developed an important, singular voice in the Chinese contemporary art realm with a visual vocabulary unique to her. Throughout her practice, she has incorporated a variety of mediums and craft-based methods such as weaving, sewing and embroidery in her approach on the female body. Applying the same labour-intensive devotion at STPI, Lin layered webs of winding threads and styrofoam balls, embossed impressions of needles, and employed flocking in her works to create ethereal landscapes and portraits. These elements formed a unique combination not hitherto seen in print, adding both visual beauty and a sensory dimension to the works. Solo exhibitions include Systems, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai (2018); Protruding Patterns, Galerie Lelong & Co., New York (2017); 1.62M: Lin Tianmiao Solo Exhibition, How Art Museum, Wenzhou (2015); Lin Tianmiao: Est-ce permis ? (Est-ce possible ?), Galerie Lelong, Paris (2013); Badges, Galerie Lelong, New York (2012); Bound Unbound: Lin Tianmiao, Asia Society Museum, New York (2012); The Same, Beijing Center for the Arts, Beijing (2011) and Focus on Paper, STPI, Singapore (2007).


Lin Tianmiao


Lithograph, screenprint with embossed ink on STPI handmade paper


107.5 x 301 cm