ALTERING THE WALLS
September 7, 2008
Guangdong Victory Hotel Guangzhou
Lin Yilin, Born in 1964, Guangzhou. Graduated from the sculpture department of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. In 1991 he co-founded the Big-Tail Elephant Group and now lives and works between Guangzhou and New York. His performance and sculpture works explore the situation åof individuals against the background of China's modern transformation. He has participated in the Venice Biennale and Documenta 12. His major works include Safely Crossing Linhe Road, Our Future and San Mao.
Jérôme Sans: You are very famous for a performance you did, crossing a street in Guangzhou by moving a brick wall. What was the reason for the work at that time?
Lin Yilin: I did that work in l995. The first time I used cinderblocks was in l991, in Guangzhou. At that time, owing to economic shifts in the wake of 1989, Guangzhou was becoming an economic center, and many things were moving in its direction. Guangzhou was probably the most exciting city in China at that time; this is the most basic background. When I made this work. I was thinking about how in a performance I could make a wall behave like a person, make it cross the street. When I was looking for a site. I saw that Guangzhou was building its tallest building yet, they even claimed at the time it was the tallest in Asia, and so I thought it was meaningful to realize the performance on that street, because this site bore an interesting connection to the city as a whole. Later people have called this one of the representative works dealing with China's urban development. I suppose I was just lucky to have been living in that moment,