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Maya Lin
by Pace Hong Kong
Location: Pace Hong Kong
Artist(s): Maya LIN
Date: 21 Jan - 12 Mar 2016

“It’s a process that balances scientific data with the handmade” says Maya Lin. “I start with extremely complex scientific data points and then, through a visual editing process, I find the scale and simplicity of the form—revealing a landscape both visually discernible and compelling.” 

Acclaimed American artist and architect Maya Lin will hold her first Hong Kong solo exhibition at Pace Hong Kong, opening January 21, 2016 and on view through March 12. The exhibition will present selections from her Disappearing Bodies of Water and Fractured Landscape series, and two new wall pieces made using steel pins or recycled silver. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, January 21 from 6:00 to 8:00pm.

The exhibition will feature works that reveal Lin’s interdisciplinary artistic practice and commitment to the natural environment, the central concern throughout her entire body of work. Developed from methods of rendering nature such as cartography, Lin’s sculptures integrate the rational with the beautiful, transforming the visible natural world and “invisible” environmental forces into tangible works of art using materials such as marble, wood, silver and iron. The works on view engage thematically with history, technology, memory and time.

The Disappearing Bodies of Water series uses layers of Vermont Danby marble to chart the changes of sites including Lake Chad in Africa, the Dead Sea in the Middle East and the vanishing ice sheets in the Arctic. The shape of each layer, derived using data from satellite imagery, maps the diminishment of these bodies of water from overuse as well as climate change. The sculptures can be seen as records of environmental change and tributes to the bodies of water as they existed in recent memory.

Suggesting bodies of water, the works that make up the Fractured Landscape series are the result of the artist pressing sheets of paper against shards of glass covered in pastel. Though abstract, they evoke images of deltas, marshes, islands and river systems.

Continuing Lin’s cartographic imagery and methodology are two wall-mounted works, Pin River–Yangtze (2015) and Silver Pearl (2015), which use pins and recycled silver, respectively, to form aerial views of water systems and flood plains. The works in the exhibition depict the water patterns of Asia’s longest river and tributary system using steel pins, and those of Southern China’s Pearl River in silver.

About the Artist

Maya Lin’s (b. 1959, Athens, Ohio, United States) work encompasses large-scale environmental installations, architectural projects and memorials. She interprets the world through a twenty-first century lens, utilizing technological methods to visualize the natural environment. Hailing from a family of cultural figures, she is the daughter of Henry Huan Lin, the former dean of Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts, the great-granddaughter of famed politician and diplomat Lin Changmin and grand-niece of famous Republican Era architect and writer Lin Huiyin. Lin received significant recognition as a student at Yale University with her design of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial (1982). The documentary film on this subject, Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994), won an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Other works by Lin include the Museum of Chinese in America (2009) in New York and the Civil Rights Memorial (1989) in Montgomery Alabama, both regarded as outstanding works of architecture and design. Lin was recently commissioned by Novartis, a global leader in the medical industry and noted patron of world class architecture, to design part of their new research campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Lin’s work is held in numerous public collections worldwide, including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona; and Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, among others. Her Pin River–Yangtze (2007) is on permanent display at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Lin has been the subject of exhibitions at international venues including Orlando Museum of Art, Florida (2015); Ivorypress Art and Bookspace, Madrid (2014); Nevada Museum of Art, Reno (2014); Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York (2014); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2012); Dayton Art Institute, Ohio (2012); and Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York (2009). In 2006, the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington, Seattle organized Maya Lin: Systematic Landscapes, which traveled to Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri (2007); Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2008); de Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (2008); and Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2009). In 2009, three major works from the traveling exhibition were presented in Maya Lin: Three Ways of Looking at the Earth, Selections from Systematic Landscapes at Pace, New York. The two-part exhibition Maya Lin: Here and There was presented by Pace London and Pace, New York in 2013.

In 2015, Lin was awarded the Medal of Arts from the Art in Embassies Program and the Portrait of a Nation award from the National Portrait Gallery, both in Washington, D.C. She was the recipient of the 2014 Gish Prize for her contributions to art and social change, and has been named by LIFE Magazine as one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century.” Lin was awarded the 2009 National Medal of the Arts by President Barack Obama. She is an Honorary Trustee at the National Resources Defense Council and serves on the Board of Trustees at Museum of Chinese in America. In 2015, Rizzoli International published Maya Lin: Topologies, the most comprehensive monograph on the artist to date.

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