The Other Side of the Forest
Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art presented an exhibition by the Chinese artist Lu Lin whose landscape paintings epitomise the attempt to grasp and convey the ‘ultimate truth’ hidden behind everyday objects
Large-scale canvases exploring nature as well as spiritual and social matters
An attempt to establish a certain order using chaotic lines and abstract colour combinations
Landscapes juxtaposing the natural and the industrial
The contemporary Chinese culture phenomenon has been fascinating the world during the recent decades, with literature, music, and cinema being in equal measure the subject of much popular interest. The young Beijing-based artist Lu Lin presents his own version of contemporary Chinese painting based on the traditional mentality, but infused with the sensibilities and practices of modern-day international art.
According to the artist, his creative expression was influenced by the art of Anselm Kiefer and Gerhard Richter, as well as the writings of Byung-Chul Han, Fei Xiaotong, Mark Moffett, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Ernst Jünger. ‘The works of these, and other, artists and scholars helped me establish a connection between myself and reality,’ says Lin.
Lu Lin possesses an understanding of the arts agenda and a recognisable style that are both uniquely his own. His artworks can be ‘read’ like texts: they provoke thoughts and engender a feeling of existential anxiety. The artist’s Expressionist manner ups the ante of emotional acuteness. Landscape is Lu Lin’s preferred genre, but his works are in a sense beyond landscape. In his own words, ‘I am often asked why I am so obsessed with landscapes. The truth is, I don’t intentionally focus on landscape painting: I prefer creating “a realm for spiritual roaming.” A landscape is just an outer manifestation. I am much more concerned with time and memory, reality and truth. My goal is not to copy nature, but to establish order using chaotic lines and several bold combinations of abstract colour planes. I believe that landscape painting not only reflects the animate world around us, but also addresses spiritual and social matters. My canvases often feature dense thickets or animals set against the backdrop of architectural ruins: in this way, I try to juxtapose nature and industry, telling both the story and the backstory.’
Lu Lin’s paintings epitomise the attempt to convey the emotional state of a person escaping his social roles to find himself in the unknown, ‘within a forest dark’ of life. The feeling so exquisitely expressed by Dante was experienced by many generations, including our contemporaries.
Lu Lin’s art is appreciated both at home and abroad: his works were exhibited in the museums and galleries of Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Singapore, Berlin, Potsdam, and other cities. Moreover, in 2012 he was shortlisted for the John Moore Painting Prize. The Other Side of the Forest at the Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art is the artist’s first exhibition in Russia.