Installation view of LIN TIANMIAO’s My Garden, 2018, glass, aluminum, liquid circulation system and carpet, dimensions variable, at Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.

Lin Tianmiao

A spectrum of fluorescent green and teal liquids jetted into the air, in a dizzying chromatic symphony contained within a field of glass capillaries sprouting vertically from a plush pink rug. Lin Tianmiao’s striking installation My Garden (2018) filled the fourth-floor atrium at the Rockbund Art Museum, in her first institutional show in Shanghai (6/26–8/26). The sides of the cylindrical tubes were etched with Latin, English and Chinese plant names that Lin translated literally. In the process, she stripped away their cultural significance and auspicious associations, resulting in whimsical monikers such as “chicken oil tree” or “fan god,” while the philodendron is interpreted as a “Happy Forest of Taro” in Chinese. Created in collaboration with the Shanghai Museum of Glass as part of the institution’s multiyear project “Annealing” (2014– ), Lin’s installation celebrates differences through mutual linguistic misunderstandings and epitomizes her recent technical experimentations that disentangle complex cultural and global systems.

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