/ In Silence

Lin Hong-Wen



Co-curator's Perspectives

Lin Hong-Wen is an artist of his time. In focusing on his materials, whether acrylic or steel, he enhances the driving force behind his untimely intuitions, thereby refusing to calculate or subscribe to methods resulting in solely rational conclusions. His approach to art is neither systematic nor predetermined. Rather he is involved in the ongoing discovery of form in which he avoids any common or predictable aspects of entitlement. Consequently, his work remains open and without limitations. His allegiance to form is not formal, at least not in the traditional sense. Hong-wen works outside the realm of the obvious, removed from trends that speculate on a global art market. As a uniquely cultivated artist, he avoids engaging in projects he foresees as problematic or unsuitable for his purposes. His inspiration emanates from a singular point of view. This is what enables him to focus entirely on his work. He is an artist of his own making.

— Robert C. Morgan, American art historian and the co-curator of In Silence

About In Silence

Text/ Yaman Shao

The garden of Lin Hong-Wen is a place of tranquility that is without a center. He talks about trees and also the life and death cycles specific to various species. So much of his studio is occupied by his vast body of work, rendering the space somewhat cluttered. Despite many under-progress pieces taking up much room, it seems like he can still remain creative. Lin’s studio is roofed by iron sheets; through the dormer, light comes in and floods the interior. The sound of raindrops beating against this iron roof encourages inspiration. The spirit of original expression is not constrained by the surrounding environment—that’s true freedom.

With regard to the development of contemporary art, the action of “going back to the basics” means rediscovering the moment when the beginnings of humanity were marked by a spark of creativity. Once we identify this core spirit of life, out of it can spring a constellation of starting points. All these starting points are then enriched through narratives and experiences, and finally channeled into expression. Lin creates full, rich imagery with no hesitation, so instinctively that it’s as if a tidal wave of vitality is driving his consciousness.

The evolution of visual art accompanies a corresponding course of meaning. In this technological era, symbols have become a form of silent communication; symbols have also engendered unprecedented changes in our societies on multiple levels, ultimately obscuring the line that separates physical and virtual realities. Language remains the most common and versatile medium of communication: we face ourselves and concretize our aspirations into actual existence through awareness.

The exhibition In Silence captures the power of art beyond forms by highlighting the fluidity of time. By virtue of the ALIEN Art Centre’s physical orientation, the morning sunlight streams into the space through the South-East direction. The variation of light becomes the expression of time. And as the hours and minutes elapse, leading to the afternoon, another color temperature unfolds behind the Centre. Just like this, Lin’s works form a continuum between the starting and ending points of departure and arrival. The ancient wisdom behind the qifengzhan technique (or the “seal over the perforation” method that originated in the East) is the bringing together of split pages into one whole entity, just as exhilarating reservoirs of creativity lie hidden within a completed work, a notion that can be construed as a brand new interpretation of life.

Lin Hong-Wen: Sensory Light and Form

Text/ Robert C. Morgan

From my Western perspective, I understand Hong-wen’s work as being possessed by a heightened degree of sensory cognition that suggests a process of seeing in relation to knowing. Seeing into knowing suggests that my experience with the artist’s work is directly related to my sensory (visual) input that occurs prior to language. To fully understand this approach to Hong-wen’s art, I have to go beyond language, beyond the display of rote information. I want to see Hong-wen’s massive painterly diptychs and upright welded sculpture taken beyond the talk of economic status and into the realm of our sensory functions, the experiential domain of art. What we see and how we feel in relation to the act of seeing may be related to one another, but are not precisely the same. This has proven evident on several occasions where Hong-wen has shown in exhibitions, including New York, Poland, East Asia, and Europe. The works to which I now refer are mostly his paintings and sculptures -- the focus of the current exhibition.This is not to exclude the importance of his work in other mediums, namely video, prints, drawings, and his amazing large-scale installations involving intensely creative multimedia forms.

For several years, I have observed paintings and sculptures by Lin Hong-wen that suggested a Zen absence of form in addition to a precise metaphysical reality. In China, metaphysics is largely contingent on the teachings of Confucius. From a Western point of view, the leading advocate would be Aristotle. As far apart as they may seem, the two philosophers share the notion that metaphysics exists both within and beyond what we can identify as being in the physical world. One might further argue that the stoic Zen aspect in Hong-wen’s work shares a similar sense of being in-between, but from a slightly different perspective. There is little doubt that the artist’s acute abstract sensibility is both absent and present. What it becomes –in time –is what it is, and, therefore, suggests Hong-wen’s manner of work exceeds the normative approach to Western contemporary art, whatever that approach has come to mean in the twenty-first century.

Metaphorically, the artist delivers a sensorial affirmation that clarifies the stillness that resides within his art, a stillness of what it may likely become within the silent coordinates of space/time. Having knowledge of this, I am willing to experience Hong-wen’s work for what it is – not only as a material, but coincidentally as form within structure. In so doing, I am able to relate to Hong-wen’s work by avoiding any need to conform to outsider opinions expressed through media, which are most often incorrect.

Rather I come to his work on terms of my own, alleviating any presumptuous academic or commercial language. I understand his work as an instrumental force, an exuberance that goes beyond institutions and, in its own way, has chosen to perceive the role of art as a rejuvenating phenomenon that gravitates toward personal experience. This relates directly to the manner in which the artist’s emotional, often dynamic intelligence informs his work and the manner in which it perpetually revises assumptions regarding past histories. Through his manner of dealing with both Eastern and Western art, he has discovered new ways to augment his personal working methods.

Where is the place on the canvas where light is admitted? No matter how hidden the light may appear, around or beneath the artist’s thinly painted dark veils, there is the sense of touch. Given the current environment where the human touch is necessarily forbidden, there is no doubt that art of this quality can help restore the memory of touch. Artists the caliber of Lin Hong-wen are healers – as many significant artists tend to be – whose work may help show us the way through their knowledge of rehabilitation as art restores our ability to think again in terms our human condition.

I would like to take this opportunity to offer my deepest thanks to the artist, Lin Hong-wen, and to the curator of this exhibition, Dr. Yaman Shao. Their encouragement and friendship has been and continues to be overwhelming. Their appreciation and trust in my work as a writer on Chinese and Taiwanese contemporary art reveals a generosity of spirit that I have grown to understand as an essential part of a great culture.

In Silence

Place: ALIEN Art Centre
Artist: Hong-Wen Lin
Curator: Yaman Shao and Robert C. Morgan
Produced by ALIEN Art
Advisor: Bureau of Cultural Affairs Kaohsiung City Government, Urban Development Bureau Kaohsiung City Government
Special Thanks to YUIMOM GROUP


Robert C. Morgan is a writer, critic, curator, artist, and art historian, who is the author of many books and monographs, including Art into Ideas: essays on Conceptual Art (1996,Korean translation,2007) The End of the art work(1998) and Vasarely (2004). He has authored catalogs on Chinese artists, including Zeng Fanzhi, Ye Yongqing, Cui Guotai, Wenda Gu and Zhang Jian Jun, and is the New York Editor of Asian Art News. Dr. Morgan has curated over 70 exhibitions in museums, galleries, and cultural spaces throughout the world, including the first New York exhibition of Hung Liu in 1989. His own work as an artist is represented by Bjorn Ressle Gallery in New York. NEW YORK, NY, July 17, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Robert C. Morgan, PhD, with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Dr. Morgan celebrates many years' experience as a professional advocate in the field of contemporary art. He is noted for his scholarly and educational achievements in studio art, art criticism, the history of art, and his curatorial practice.

Hong-Wen Lin's installation work How to Be at 2021 solo exhibition In Silence at ALIEN Art Centre © ALIEN Art

Hong-Wen Lin's installation work Sweetie at 2021 solo exhibition In Silence at ALIEN Art Centre © ALIEN Art

In Silence at ALIEN Art Centre © ALIEN Art

Hong-Wen Lin's installation work Orientation at 2021 solo exhibition In Silence at ALIEN Art Centre © ALIEN Art

Hong-Wen Lin, Elegant Silence, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 91 x 117 cm © Courtesy of the artist

Lin Hong-Wen, Installation (Tainan), 2003, drift wood, video © Courtesy of the artist

Robert.C.Morgan & Lin Hong-Wen in conversation with In Silence

In Silence at ALIEN Art Centre © ALIEN Art

In Silence at ALIEN Art Centre © ALIEN Art

In Silence at ALIEN Art Centre © ALIEN Art

In Silence at ALIEN Art Centre © ALIEN Art

Hong-Wen Lin's installation work As I Reveal at 2021 solo exhibition In Silence at ALIEN Art Centre © ALIEN Art

Hong-Wen Lin's installation work Time’s Murmur at 2018 Taiwan East Coast Land Arts Festival

Hong-Wen Lin's installation work Alluring Sound at 2021 solo exhibition In Silence at ALIEN Art Centre © ALIEN Art

In Silence at ALIEN Art Centre © ALIEN Art