Lin Yilin: Golden Journey

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Golden Town, 2011 © Courtesy of the artist
Lin Yilin: Golden Journey
Curated by: Hou Hanru

800 Chestnut St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
May 4th, 2012 - July 28th, 2012
Opening: May 3rd, 2012 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Financial District/Wharf
Tue 11-7; Wed-Sat 11-6
San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI)
installation, performance, conceptual, modern
Free and open to the public


Lin Yilin: Golden Journey documents new site-specific performances by Lin Yilin, a leader of the Chinese avant-garde art world known for his provocative urban interventions. The works were created with SFAI students during a residency at Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco. 

Golden Journey is also featured in the inaugural Asian Contemporary Art Week in San Francisco, initiated by the Asian Contemporary Arts Consortium and running May 12-19.

After researching San Francisco in the fall of 2011, Lin developed a series of performances that explore the urban histories of migration and immigration, with particular focus on their political implications. Working with SFAI students, Lin created performances in which he undertook actions such as slowly rolling down Lombard Street, playing cards under an American flag next to the Golden Gate Bridge, and dragging a costume dragon head through Chinatown. By disrupting the normal order of daily life, Lin creatively explores the complex relationships between humans and the built environment, the materialization of the body, and its social impacts.

Born in 1964, Lin is a native of Guangzhou—a city that was a laboratory of China’s modernization, exposed early to the outside forces of globalization and problems of accelerating industrialization and urbanization. In 1990, he co-founded the Big-Tail-Elephant Group, a Guangzhou-based artistic collaborative with which SFAI curator Hou Hanru has a long history, including selecting their work for the 2002 Venice Biennale. After moving to the United States in 2001, Lin’s experience as an immigrant shed new light on his ideas of economic globalization and geopolitical conflicts. These areas of focus align Golden Journey with two axes of the Walter and McBean Galleries’ multi-faceted programming structure: “Global Figures” and “Acting Out in the City.”

SFAI’s exhibitions and public programs are supported in part by the Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. Lin Yilin's residency in San Francisco was hosted by Kadist Art Foundation, which also provided generous support for the exhibition.