Video interview by Scarlett Meng, based in New York
Confused, afraid and a little angry characterize Angel Lin’s expressions in his autobiographical collection, J’ai peur, French for “I am afraid.” A piece from the collection features a green snake twisting around Angel’s neck, covering his eye. Another piece illustrates a bird of freedom staring at Angel, trapped in a cage.
These powerful images of a figurative self in Angel’s work symbolize an internal voice that longs to break away from the old and fearful and embrace the new and hopeful.
Born in the bourgeois Shanghai but currently based in Beijing, Angel is a new media artist. His J’ai peur collection was inspired by a tragic incident on Christmas Eve in 2009, which injured Angel’s right eye.
Angel said creating art led him out of the darkest days when he was hospitalized. “Art helps you through tragic pain,” Angel says. On his hospital bed, Angel started brainstorming and creating his J’ai peur collection, which incorporates a mixture of traditional and digital art forms including painting, graphic design and photography.
Angel Lin has showcased his work in more than thirteen exhibitions at home and abroad since 2003. In 2010, Angel debuted the “J’ai peur” collection in the Italian Consulate General of Shanghai. The culture director at the consulate has praised Angel’s work to be revealing “the way Chinese traditional thinking is evolving in contemporary art reality.”
This past summer in Beijing, Art Zeen caught up with Angel Lin to talk about Chinese contemporary art and the fear of containment.
Art Zeen Interview with Angel Lin