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 composition of this painting reminds us of Leonardo da Vinci’s Virgin and Child with Saint Anne since it possesses an analogous, stable, pyramid style composition. However, the genial and warm atmosphere of Mary and Saint Anne’s eternally accommodating and forgiving motherly love that we find in da Vinci’s painting has been transformed here into a ghastly image. Here, the holy aura of traditional sacred portraiture and the spiritual exchange between The Virgin Mary and Jesus have been banished in favor of deteriorating flesh and a monstrous feeling of emptiness. Although the mother retains her saintly pose, she has an icy and distant expression, and the two children have been turned into headless bodies (who incidentally have also lost their consciousness and subjectivity). The sentiment between the mother and children in the painting is perhaps difficult to link with saintly images, but the familial support between these human bodies in distress, located among life’s ruins, is the ultimate essence of holiness after the destruction of the Holy Spirit.
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.
|English title：||St. Mother and Child|
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|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|