Hourglass
8 Dec 2018 - 30 Dec 2018

Lin Yi Wei’s Riverlike Narrative and Diary

In daily life, what makes me feel the most urgent and want to do is to write. After a period of accumulation, when I looked back at these diaries, I named the selected diaries. This solo exhibition began with a diary written in the year I lived in Frankfurt and published on the social networking site. When I picked these diaries, I found out that these immediately-written and publicly-posted articles whose date numbers show a kind of repetition: January (1) 11, February (2) 12, March (3) 23, and so on I named these 11 diaries as Hourglass. It represents my life experiences and opinions on the two ways “duplicate” and “repeat”, and also hints at how I think about the position of the individual in the world. By looking back at your own shame, you can find glory. Another meaning of these numbers also represented the coexistence of two things. During that time, I reflected on the situation of queers, laborers and immigrants in Taiwan. At the same time, this was also the overlap of my three identities in Germany. Because of the accumulation of writing and exhibitions so far, I opened up the imagination of tourists, local residents and immigrants (also includes the time changed from day to night, the time immigrants of work and rest) as well as made my work an introspection of the events I have experienced.

Writing during the move

After a period of accumulation, when these diaries are re-discovered, they are no longer just recording each moment, but can be understood consistently. I named each of the selected diaries, because these diaries made me the images that I usually pass and took pictures. Thus, I began to develop paintings or other mediums. My writing is not about capturing temporary thoughts, but the inspiration for the events I have experienced. Or maybe, two things that I am thinking at the same time are linked together because of an experience. Throughout the summer of 23-year-old, I wrote “The Empty River” for the life that was reversed day and night. I wrote the “Mutual Tour” for the crowds who wandered in Tamsui, Taiwan, and wrote “Mathematics” for serving in the Immigration Department. I wrote the “hourglass” for the first year of my move to Frankfurt am Main. When “The Empty River” was carried out, it was my writing state from the time I went out in the evening to the middle of the morning. At that time, I might just go out to wander, take the last train from Taipei to Jiaoxi, and go alone until the morning. My hometown is located in Tainan and Kaohsiung. Compared to the high-speed rail, I often choose to take a bus from Taipei to and from the two places. In the process of changing the scenery all the way, with the movement of the bus, I was able to write a diary just over four hours in the car. The time required for the high-speed rail is too short. During the paintings I created during the Immigration Department and the “Night Run Series”, I often ran in the night where I live. When my body moves, the scenes of life that I usually pass through can enter my narrative along with my thoughts.

The act of writing a diary can be traced back to the time when I was working on the “Mutual Tour”. In 2010, I did some experiments in Tamshui. At that time, my task was to travel with strangers. When they picked up the camera and were ready to take pictures, I walked over to them and watched the screen on the camera. Visitors who are concentrating on taking pictures are often not easily aware of my existence. When they finish taking photos, I will chat with them and ask them to send me the photos. By the end of 2011, I was only starting this series of works because of the opportunity of the curator of the Hong-gah Museum, the Empowerment Program, by the curator Wu Muching. When I went to Tamsui more and more times, I also found that my photo collection amount was 30 from the beginning, and finally turned into 10, 5 or even 2 photos a day. From the beginning, I compared the task of activity to the later stage and evolved into a more random current writing. One day, when I returned to the Tamshui River embankment, I saw that everyone had taken the camera and stood in the position to welcome the sunset. Only me and another crying girl on the river bank were not facing the sunset. So I went to talk to her and presented the writing at the time. This piece made me realize that when I saw someone picking up the camera, my writing began.

“Duplicate” and “Repeat”

Whether it is the paintings of the Immigration Department, the “Night Run Series” or the previously developed works, my creative objects always come from the things around my daily life. From my studio in Taipei, I could overlook the community space of the opposite building. Then, I finished the painting of “Palm Trees in Bloom” in a state of almost sketching. Inside the Immigration Department building, from the large enclosed glass windows, you can see the rooftops where there are birds resting, so I created the “Bird Garden”. These are the places I often go through. Even the Immigration Department building was where I was serving for nearly a year. At the Immigration Department, desks in the morning for office hours might turn into my studio for painting in nighttime. Then, I have always had to sort it back to the original appearance in the next morning. I lived in the building of the Immigration Department at that time. These pieces were painted when I wandered around the building at night and walked around the building in the Xiaonanmen area of Taipei.

Before I lived in Germany, I really liked the work of Joseph Beuys and Anselm Kiefer. I will not specifically say which artist my work is influenced by. The reason why Joseph Beuys’ work is important to me is because I will always think about it. After a while, I will repeat and think about his work. “Repeat” is like how I organize on my personal website. I am not doing the arrangement in a way that separates each series of works, but instead puts an article on my writing. This content is how I have done it from the past to the present, how it inspired me to think about how to let me produce knowledge. For me, making a new exhibition is an opportunity to revisit your work. Through repetitive writing, the multi-faceted nature of the work can be more complete and rich.

After I moved to Germany at the end of 2016, over the past year, I was thinking about the situation of queers, labor and immigration. At the same time, this was also the overlap of my three identities in Germany. I got living expenses in Germany with the labor force, and I experienced the gay marriage law that Germany just practiced in October 2017. I was married in Germany in December of the same year. I thought that when I arrived at a new place, my original creative method might not continue. So, I just simply lived for a year, and continued to write diary. It wasn’t until a year later that I re-read the diary I wrote in Germany that I was like a scriptwriter who cracked the password and tried to find the relationship between these diaries. Some of my diary content will be posted directly on the social media platform. I found out that these immediately-written and publicly-posted articles whose date numbers show a kind of repetition: January (1) 11, February (2) 12, March (3) 23, and so on. So, this solo exhibition started with the diary I chose this year and named it “Hourglass.” It represents my life experiences and opinions on the two ways “duplicate” and “repeat”, and also hints at how I think about the position of the individual in the world. By looking back at your own shame, you can find glory. These numbers also represent the coexistence of two things.

Coexistence of things

In the winter in Frankfurt, I was inspired to write the diary of “Appreciation of Snow” because of the floor tiles pattern that was covered under the snow. Then I created the painting “The road to return Home”. The “Backyard Scenery” is a view that I can see from the kitchen every day when I live in Frankfurt am Main. The scenery here reminds me of the “Palm Trees in Bloom” in the Night Run series, so I decided to draw it. One day in April 2016, I was able to overlook the community space of the opposite building from the studio in Taipei. In the process of observing the opposite community building, I tried to find the public space that I usually overlooked or actually intended to create a neglected public space. I used the imagination of painting to show the palm flower period that was easily overlooked by pedestrians, the cave at the entrance of the parking lot, and the seascapes between the two buildings and public spaces that were privately communization integrated. They formed a peculiar but different perspective of contemporary life.

One day, I went to a resort lake in Frankfurt am Main that was very popular with locals. If you swim to the other side of the lake, you will arrive at the famous nudity camp beach. When I saw the friends wearing clothes on the shore of the nudity camp, I was very touched by the picture of the trash can in the shadows. At that time, the clothes on the body seemed to be the same as those in the shadows, so I decided to develop this work. The nudity camp originated on a coast in northern Germany, when East and West were in a period of division. However, under the pressure of the political environment, people’s common demand was to enjoy the liberation of the body in nature. This pursuit of freedom was fascinating and allowed me to think about what is freedom. From the voyeurism of the stranger’s physical desires to the service workers, and the concepts of equality and respect that the nudity camp wanted to promote, the emotional experiences covered by these three may coexist in one’s daily life.

When the 11 diaries of “Hourglass” were written, eight of them were written during the German life that various weather conditions occurred in the blink of an eye. Perhaps after a sudden strong wind, a heavy rain followed to thrown me into panic. After a while, there was a ray of sunshine shining on my face. The weather conditions here were co-existed. After experiencing these weather changes, I took inspiration from the natural environment to write about what is trust and freedom, about hard work, what life is like, and how to portray loneliness and ununderstood feelings. When the young friends around me left their hometowns to work, study, and live abroad, I was in the Immigration Department and I had the task of making an annual magazine, so I have often had to meet with the chief. In the meeting, the problem of young people’s outflows was also be discussed, but the solution proposed was to fill this gap through immigrants from Southeast Asia. As a young generation, I felt angry. At the same time, I began to come up with ideas about immigration. What is immigration? What is the relationship between immigration and mobility? So I later created the paintings of the Immigration Department and the “Night Run Series”, which also included the time immigration from day to night, the living schedule was changed. Earlier, “Mingsheng Village and People’s livelihood Village” was done during the rise of the younger generation of social movements. At the moment when social movements take place, most of the discussions will be relatively specific. So, I was thinking about it and trying to open the connection between individuals and individuals, not the way of collective action or division of labor. Through the relationship between the younger generation of social media and the younger generation, the “link” and “narrative development” between individuals and individuals may be imagined. From the tourists in the “Mutual Tour”, the local residents in “Mingsheng Village and People’s livelihood Village”, the paintings of the Immigration Department and the immigrants in the “Night Run Series”, because of the accumulation of writing and exhibitions so far, let me open Imagination of tourists, local residents and immigrants (also includes the time changed from day to night, the time immigrants of work and rest), and making my work an introspection of the current experience.

In the 2016 “Riverlike Narrative” solo exhibition, I selected Yu Lihua’s novel “Palms Again” as a clue to the exhibition. This novel is actually a novel about love. Its narrative background is Taiwan’s American aid period in the 1960s. At that time, young people left their hometown to go to the United States to study and work, and after returning home ten years later, he found differences in their values and perceptions with family and friends. The novel used palm trees to depict the mood of the protagonist in different periods.

“He remembers finally finding something to do that summer. Every night, he shuttled between San Francisco and Carmel in the long truck loaded with ice. He drove the truck that had the length of a train from twelve mid-night until five in the morning. When the world was peacefully asleep, he was awake feeling desperate. He tried to keep his blood streak-filled eyes open to look at the tortuous mountain road instead of the foot of the mountain. He was amidst a thin layer of mist and the blue sea so blue that it made his head spin. Behind him was stiffening ice that weighed thousands of kilograms; in front of him were a dozen layers of rocky cliffs that made his heart freeze. Despair, rage, and regret continued to burn inside. He slowly crawled and drove, struggling through the most lonesome road this mortal world has known”. -Extracted from a full-length novel in Lihua “Palms Again” published in 1967.

The contents of the “Palms Again” on the ice-carrying truck, as well as the Korean film “A Taxi Driver” and the Japanese novel “Spring, Meet in the Barnes Department Store”, which affects me deeply, the emotional experience that the grassroots personnel can’t talk about in the face of repeated daily situations are presented. In the “Hourglass” diary, started from the wrong French book that I could not read, and ended with the feeling of not understanding in the psychological aspect. From “Appreciation of Snow” and the scene that the steering wheel turning counterclockwise in the movie, to find out the original look of life and the power to regain courage. In the wave of excavation history in Taiwan in recent years, I also reflect on it. When I regard the vacancy of history as an existence, the other side I can do is to open up the exploration and discussion of individuals in different emotions. It implies the dilemma of life, facing the oppressive and shameful parts of life, and realizing the hope that can be obtained by the possibility of coexistence of things in the gradual loss of spiritual contemporary life.