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RICHARD LIN (LIN SHOW-YU, UK/TAIWAN, 1933-2011)
RICHARD LIN (LIN SHOW-YU, UK/TAIWAN, 1933-2011)
RICHARD LIN (LIN SHOW-YU, UK/TAIWAN, 1933-2011)
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RICHARD LIN (LIN SHOW-YU, UK/TAIWAN, 1933-2011)
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RICHARD LIN (LIN SHOW-YU, UK/TAIWAN, 1933-2011)

May 1; May 2; May 3; & May 4

Details
RICHARD LIN (LIN SHOW-YU, UK/TAIWAN, 1933-2011)
May 1; May 2; May 3; & May 4
signed 'Lin' and numbered '52/70' (lower edge); signed 'Lin' and numbered '30/70' (lower edge); signed 'Lin' and numbered '33/70' (lower edge); & signed 'Lin' and numbered '25/70' (lower edge)
four screenprints on paper and acetate
each 50.8 x 50.8 cm (20 x 20 in.); (4)
Executed in 1971
edition 52/70; 30/70; 33/70; &25/70
Provenance
Private Collection, Asia

Another edition of these screenprints is held in the collection of Tate Modern Gallery, London.

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Jessica Hsu
Jessica Hsu

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Lot Essay

Born in the only mansion in Taiwan, Richard Lin grew up in wealth, and received a Japanese primary education during the Japanese occupation. In 1949 he completed his secondary education at the Diocesan School in Hong Kong, which significantly influenced him to land his works in traditional Eastern culture. After studying abroad in the UK in 1952, he witnessed the period of time in which Western artists grew interest in Zen and Taoist thinking. Thus it isn't difficult to understand the connection between Lin's earlier works and Zen thought, and his attempts to observe the universe and his own mind by reflecting them in simple symbols.

Moon Festivity (Lot 409), created in the 1950s, is a confluence of the elements that were important to him during this period of time. Through impressionistic dots, lines, and flat surfaces that make up its image. The elegance of a scenic Midautumn night beneath a full moon is evoked through simple, purposeful brushstrokes. As is annotated in our introduction to Zen master Torei Enji's Full Circle, circles in Zen thought symbolizes nothingness, the basis of existence. The circle is one of the earliest visual symbols Richard Lin employed in his oeuvre of work and certainly one of the most significant; it was also highly influential to later Hard Edge impressionist artworks. The circle in Moon Festivity is a full moon during a fit homesickness. It is a manifestation of the artist's admiration of Taoist ideals— the abstract existence of all things, without end, without shape or form.

1960 marked the first turning point in Richard Lin's earlier work. His experience of contemporary Western culture during his architectural studies in the UK, along with sensitivity to avant-garde artistic forms, spurred him to move towards a more precise and rational impressionist creation. He also developed the concept of "painting relief", in which different textures and blocks of colours are staggered in layers on canvas to produce a piece of artwork that combines both painting and sculpture. And yet the process of "painting relief" is not simply "sculpting on canvas". It absorbs and transforms theories of sculpture art to explore essential questions regarding painting. Early painting reliefs were constructed with a variety of media and oil paints of certain thickness. The texture, shape and shades of white vary in relation to the alternation of distance between viewers and the painting, creating multiple dimensions on the canvas that are both visually and physically tangible.

By the end of the 1960s, Richard Lin hardly ever titled his artworks as "painting relief" anymore, but this concept would be a recurring motif throughout his entire artistic career. He began to replace aluminum, organic glass and other similar materials with oil paint. Such experiment could be seen in Painting April 1967. The smoothened layers of oil paint forming different sense of depth on canvas. Taking a closer look, we could perceive the warmth of colour at the bottom, the falling brushstrokes from the top, as well as the dense white blocks layered on top, presenting Lin's precise painting style. The streak of orange painted onto the middle block becomes the centrepiece of the artwork, reflecting the importance that painting held for the artist. This is significant in that it shows he had truly absorbed concepts of sculpture art and combined it with painting techniques to create a unique abstract painting. As he grew more familiar with the workings of oil-paint sculpting, colours returned to Lin's all-white canvases. This set of four screen prints May 1; May 2; May 3, May 4 (Lot 410) contains bold colours that leap off the pure white, reflecting the maturity of the artist's techniques and concepts. It reminds one of Kazimir Malevich's art, in which Malevic strips away all markers and signifiers of the material world, and radically reduce abstract art to their simplest geometric. It shows that art is no longer a tool to be used but exists for its own sake; and Richard Lin expresses his Eastern cultural views on these philosophical concepts through contemporary art, revealing the common ground he had found between his own cultural background and the Western environment he was influenced by.

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