Lin Tianmiao - New Now Hong Kong Friday, March 29, 2024 | Phillips
  • “I believe materials have properties, have genders; they can be distinguished between female and male, and often we can, through art, entirely change the identity of the material itself or change what the user adds to this material.”
     — Lin Tianmiao


     Regarded as one of the most innovative and conceptual Chinese contemporary women artists working today, Lin Tianmiao’s works explore themes surrounding gender, identity, and the human condition. The artist’s creative process often involves a combination of traditional craft techniques such as sewing and embroidery. Inspired by her life-long fascination of thread, Cotton Candy showcases Lin’s masterful use of textiles and thread. For the artist, the act of binding embodies a form of corporal punishment that women experience in their everyday domestic work. Considered stereotypically as a ‘female’ craft, Lin embraces the medium of thread and everyday found objects as her own visual language, thus challenging normative ideas of womanhood, motherhood, and beauty. This thread winding process is deeply personal to Lin as it reflects her childhood memories of helping her mother sew and make clothes. Some of the typical objects that the artist incorporates in her works are bones as they represent a universal element of humans. They can be understood as a socio-political and cultural concept of commonality of both genders and all ethnicities.

    Detail of the present lot


    To achieve the result of the present work, the artist meticulously sewed and embroidered various materials together such as coloured silk thread, polyurea, and metal wire. At first glance, the softness of the pink-coloured silk threads recalls an airy cloud of cotton candy. However, upon closer inspection reveals a host of intricate and layered surfaces, which further injects layers of meaning and context to Lin’s work. Cotton Candy elicits an underlying macabre allure through the detailed elements that protrude from its border. These manufactures objects that are in the form of animal bones and skulls suggest the artist’s exploration of the fragility of life.


    Born in 1961, Lin Tianmiao currently lives and works in Beijing. The artist has held numerous solo exhibitions in China, Europe and the United States. Her work was also featured in the groundbreaking show, Art and China after 1989: Theatre of the World at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York before it travelled to the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain. Besides participating in a list of international biennales, Lin's works are also in the collection of major art institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Australia; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; and Singapore Art Museum.

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2020


Cotton Candy

coloured silk thread, polyurea, metal wire, wooden frame
141.3 x 116.2 x 31.2 cm. (55 5/8 x 45 3/4 x 12 1/4 in.)
Executed in 2013, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed and issued by the artist.

Full Cataloguing

HK$350,000 - 550,000 

Contact Specialist

Angela Tian
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
20th Century & Contemporary Art, Hong Kong
+852 2318 2058

New Now

Hong Kong Auction 29 March 2024