LIN Ju was born in Yilan in 1959. At ten years old he started painting and attended an art and design middle school. In 1979 he received the fourth Lion Young Artists Contest Award. In 1985 he had his first solo exhibition, LIN Ju’s Painting Experiment – Closed for Ninety Days at Taipei’s Chia-jen Gallery. For this work, he closed himself in a glass room completely isolated from the outside world, painting without a word spoken or read. His painting experiment of performance art attracted a lot of attention. In 1986 he started the art group Living Clay with KAO Chung-li, WANG Jun-Jieh and CHEN Chieh-Jen, and held three exhibitions in alternative spaces such as abandoned apartments (1986) and basements (1988, 1991). In 2002 he put up the show State of Severance: Panting and Performance at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, which was the second time he used performance art as a springboard for painting. LIN Ju’s paintings are filled with mysticism and gruesome and gloomy colors. In work after middle 1990’s, he often uses holy figures, such as Guanyin and the Virgin Mary, to create riddles in his paintings. Using fragments of bodies and heads, he expresses his many ideas on the circumstances of life. Besides oil painting, Lin has made plenty of ink paintings, such as the Dead-wood Arhat and Landscape of Introspection series. With these paintings, he still uses “body” as an important medium to deliver his thoughts. In an intriguing setting incorporating religion and witchcraft elements, the artist illustrates his intuitive reflections of one’s lust and redemption.
The holy figures and their bodies have remained the carriers of LIN Ju’s meditative religious thoughts and fantastical visions. The twisted dead wood in this painting forms an eerie figure that looks like a sitting Arhat. The stones in the back seem to embody the Arhat’s personality and mind. While this Arhat may only have the shape of a holy figure and not the soul, in the mean time devoid of all emotions like sorrow and joy, when the destined timing arrives, it may still transform into a true holy spirit, just like mountains and waters often possess holy energy.
LIN Ju grew up in the 1980s when the Nativist Movement was being promoted. He was awarded the “Best Young Artist” at the fourth Lion Young Artists Contest Award for a Nativist realist painting at age 20. But it was only until he refused any contact from the outside world for 90 days in order to carry out a painting experiment for his first solo exhibition in 1985 that he made sure he would like to explore one’s inner self and intuition through painting. Lin likes to study canonical Buddhist and Taoist texts and has substantial knowledge of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. To form a painting language that can best express his thoughts on life and his religious and philosophical views, he delves into Renaissance painting, Chinese ink painting before the 11th century, and Buddhist and Taoist statues hoping to be inspired. His painting vocabulary also has to do with his family upbringing. He used to run about in a slaughter house where his father worked. The intestines dropping out of pigs’ bellies and the blood gushing out from their throats are part of his early memories. Many of the human figures in his paintings look like holy beings with their characteristics deriving from eastern and western religious artworks. They often stand in silence and alienation on a deserted land where no other living beings exist. The displaced body organs, scattered heads and limbs, reversed genders and even cannibal scenes make these pictures look dark and gloomy. Despite all of his shocking and strange depictions, the archaic, mystic scenery and meditating figures living with agony in the paintings create a ray of hope in this atmosphere of stillness and death.
|Chinese title：||枯木羅漢 七|
|English title：||Dead-wood Arhat VII|
|Medium / Classification：||ink painting and calligraphy|
|Collection Unit：||Collection of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts|
|Contact method for authorization：||
Guide to the Use of Image Files and Data from the Online Collection Database
|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1951-1960|
|Related Work：||Heart-sucking St. Mother and Child|