Richard Lin was a son of the first wife of the prestigious Lin family in Wufeng, Taichung. He was born in Gongbaodi in 1933. He left Taiwan for senior high school education in Hong Kong at age 16 and departed again for London later on. In 1954, he was admitted to the Regent Street Polytechnic, London, UK to study architecture and art. After obtaining the degree, Lin stayed on as a fulltime painter. Between 1960s and 1970s, Lin had more than ten solo exhibitions around the world. His works have been collected by international connoisseurs and museums and remains a prestigious painter after death. Lin returned to Taiwan in the early 1980s. His “White Space” series with a sheer use of white sparked a wide range of discussions on geometric abstract art and Extremism. Lin and a group of young artists also had the “Alien-Play of Space” and “Transcendent-Play of Space Ⅱ” exhibitions at the Spring Gallery, which is profoundly influential to the development of abstract art and installation art in Taiwan. December 31, 2011, Lin passed away in the Taichung Veterans General Hospital, marking an end to his wonderful 79-year life.
What do we see before us?
Books cannot fully express our words, and words cannot fully express our thoughts.
Things are what they are; there is no difference in them; one is everything.1
The philosophical statement was written by Lin, for his only retrospective exhibition in life, in 2010. Such is the centerpiece of Lin’s view of art for the last 50 years. Since words cannot fully express one’s thoughts, let art return to pureness and simplicity like Chinese philosopher Laozi said. In a white background of The First Summer Day in 1969, white color bars and grey drawing lines are presented horizontally. Defined as achromatic in chromatology, white becomes colorful through Lin’s excellent use of paint. The paint, no matter thick, light, heavy, thin, transparent or even stagnant, creates diversified spatiality. The above, however, is only sufficient to explain the physical aspect of the painting, but not the artist’s philosophy of life. As Lin said, “Things are what they are.” The “things” are left to be defined by viewers.
1 Richard Lin, Salute to Masters: One in Everything, 50 Years of Lin Shou-yu’s Creative Career, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung. May 2010: 12-15.
The Lin family of Wufeng is an important one in the contemporary history of Taiwan. The young boy grew up in an upper-class Han Chinese cultural setting. He received Japanese primary school education and nationalist high school teaching in Taiwan, colonial British senior high school education in Hong Kong, and academic trainings in art in Europe. The cultures of the east and the west, in the course of time, became formative elements of Lin as an artist. He consciously chose to express the philosophies of Laozi and Zhuangzhi in an abstract language of art. Lin was hardly in touch with the art community in Taiwan before he returned here in the 1980s, and it was difficult for Lin to find a place in his home country where abstractionism was popular at the time. Nevertheless, the local art scene was amazed by what visual impacts the minimalist color of white can bring, followed by waves of discussions on his works. The fact that Lin expanded the creative horizons of younger-generation artists here is probably the greatest achievement that Lin made in the historical context of contemporary art in Taiwan, other than his career achievement.
|English title：||The First Summer Day in 1969|
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|Life-span：||1933 - 2011|
|Collection Unit：||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：||Unique Vision Ⅱ：Highlights from the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Collection|