10.28 – 11.14.2015
David Aaron

22 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, W1J 6EH.

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At first glance, the literati sentimentality infused in Lin Guocheng’s mystic, surreal landscapes are reminiscent of classical Chinese landscape paintings. Yet a closer look at these otherworldly labyrinth unravels influences ranging from that of Albercht Dürer to Liu Dan, a prominent contemporary ink painter who is known for his meticulous depictions of Chinese scholar rocks.

It can be difficult to situate Lin within a particular era, whilst his subject matters and compositions are undeniably Chinese, he paints with an ink pen as opposed to a brush. In that sense, Lin is hardly a traditional ink artist. On one hand, the moisture-laden atmosphere of his landscape, the blurry, misty outline of distant mountains and the textured swirling trees are a homage to the forefathers of classical Chinese landscape paintings. On the other hand, the way the way in which he depicts the trees via the dense, repetitive lines bears clear influence of European sketches. Furthermore, his selective omission of details in certain areas and the meticulousness in others amount to an almost comic-like spontaneity. In essence, Lin’s works are free of the academic orthodoxy, which in turn afford the possibility of these mystical trees and landscapes.

Lin’s ‘depth’ is not found upon creating a three-dimensional space within that of a two-dimensional one via visual deception, but a different sort of depth. Each of Lin’s work encapsulates a world composed by a labyrinth of lines, through which the viewer identifies objects of familiarity. Yet the trees and the mountains in his works are never fully complete, or even ‘real’, leaving the completion of the landscape to that of our own imaginations.

It seems as though that his pensive, desolate scenes are the works of a romantic literati-poet as opposed to (strikingly) the works of an ex-computer programmer. Instead of portraying what he sees via rigid forms and  composition, he allows the lines to grow spontaneously. His trees seem temporal, forever retaining the possibility of growth.  After all, an eternity is composed entirely by temporalities. One can say that Lin is almost painting with time.

It is in the sentimental temporality of his works, where time slips away quietly amidst the whirling tree branches and the distant misty mountains, that we are reminded of something we have neglected in our daily frenzies. In Lin Guocheng’s melancholic, poetic imageries, one recalls a purer, simpler version of ourselves and the world around us.

“Open the door and see the mountain II – Await to cross the creek by Feng Chaoran”
Pen and Chinese ink on paper, 150 cm x 115 cm, 2015

Pen and Chinese Ink on Paper, 113cm x 128cm, 2015



林國成,《開門見山(二) – 溪口待渡》, 鋼筆水墨、紙本 Lin Guocheng, ‘Open the door and see the mountain II – Await to cross the creek by Feng Chaoran’, Pen and Chinese ink on paper, 150 cm x 115 cm, 2015

林國成,《無法容納的風景 (三) – 多重世界》, 鋼筆水墨,茶水、紙本 Lin Guocheng, ‘The Landscape that is Impossibly Accommodated (III) – Multiple World’, Pen and Chinese ink, and Chinese tea on paper, 113 cm x 200 cm, 2014

林國成,《共生》, 鋼筆水墨、紙本 Lin Guocheng, ‘Symbiosis’, Pen and Chinese ink on paper, 113 cm x 128 cm, 2015

林國成,《紅日》, 鋼筆水墨、紙本 Lin Guocheng, ‘The Flaring Sun’, Pen and Chinese ink on paper, 50 cm x 115 cm, 2014

林國成,《崖樹三 – 浪花》, 鋼筆水墨、紙本 Lin Guocheng, ‘Trees on the Cliff (II) – Spray of Wave’, Pen and Chinese ink on paper, 180 cm x 115cm, 2015

林國成,《形與流 (二)》, 鋼筆水墨,茶水、紙本 Lin Guocheng, ‘Form and Current (II)’, Pen and Chinese ink, and Chinese tea on paper, 57 cm x 77 cm, 2014

林國成,《赤霄》, 鋼筆水墨、紙本 Lin Guocheng, ‘Chi Xiao’, Pen and Chinese ink on paper, 240 cm x 153 cm, 2013 – 2014