An Artist’s Multi-Species Mythology, Inspired by Her Cat


CAMBRIDGE, MA — Conceived through months of near companionship with her cat, Roger, Candice Lin’s Seeping, Rotting, Resting, Weeping at the Carpenter Centre for the Visible Arts enacts a procedure of other-planet-setting up whereby multi-species relations — earthbound and chthonic, human and nonhuman — are important to our ongoing survival. Set in a realm where people are no for a longer period sovereign, Lin foregrounds the life and deaths of felines, critters, microbes, and demons in a apply of generating kin. 

Close to the gallery entrance, an animated online video greets people, transporting them to the particles of a write-up-apocalyptic desert landscape. An open-structured canopy tent erupts out of earthen rubble, its base adorned with 3D-scanned ceramic palimpsests of Tang dynasty zhenmushou — amorphous multi-species tomb guardians. Within, a cat demon commences the gradual therapeutic follow of qigong. As the feline lifts its paws above its ears and collapses into its knees, viral gifs of personified animals and spambot messages flare onscreen, inciting me to greatly enhance my self-cultivation by using paid out subscriptions and bundle specials. 

Detail of Candice Lin, Seeping, Rotting, Resting, Weeping (2021)

The exhibition’s central installation, for which the display is titled, is an elaborate modular recreation of the animation’s digital cover and its hybrid demon companions. Undulating sheets of indigo-dyed textiles recount authentic and invented multi-species stories as a result of laboriously hand-drawn and stenciled images made  employing glutinous rice paste, a Japanese resist-dye strategy. A woman is digested by burrowing worms and spotted frogs 3-headed canines snarl and snap and mischievous felines dance with prolonged-tongued demons. 

The indigo plant, the exhibition’s central substance, is embedded with its own multi-species narrative. Fermented by Lin in vats of broth, moldy fruit, and the artist’s urine, distinctions amongst human and nonhuman are collapsed as the plant digests microbes of human extra in order to deliver indigo’s distinct lively hue.

Beneath the lush drapery of this blue refuge, surrounded by multi-faced and multi-limbed tomb guardians, ceramic cat pillows lie on the carpeted flooring. An animated feline by the name of White-n-Gray, dependent on a feral cat that lived on the artist’s porch, ruminates on its mortality from a modest Television in the tent. As I lie on the soft, stippled rugs, my ear turns chilly from resting on one of the ceramic cats. This emphasis on tactility continues in “A Journal of the Plague Year (Cat Demon Diary)” (2021), a browsable personalized archive of the year’s collective terrors and Lin’s anxieties, hopes, and substance processes. 

Element of Candice Lin, Seeping, Rotting, Resting, Weeping (2021)

Two sculptures composed of textured surfaces on desk-like bases sit just outdoors the key space. “Tactile Theater #1 (Right after Noguchi)” and “Tactile Theater #2 (Following Švankmajer)” (equally 2021) are greatest professional with one more human being. As Lin states in a video clip on the gallery’s web site, viewers are intended to hold each other’s gaze as they sweep their arms across the dips and curves of the surfaces, which reveal them selves to be a mélange of ribs, ears, and nostrils. Listed here, the discovery of these obscured human body elements can only be reached by the softening of our very own corporeal boundaries as arms crash into, loop about, and overlap every single other.

Even though the porous connection between people and nonhumans spurs fears of contagion, Lin features an alternate interpretation of multi-species proximity as we progress towards the dire ecological implications of capitalist development and human exceptionalism. Relatively than constructing boundaries and implementing borders, Lin considers a variety of multi-species effectively-being rooted in the myriad methods human and nonhuman cohabitation takes place in this messy, entangled affair identified as everyday living.

Element of the surface of Candice Lin, “Tactile Theater #2 (after Švankmajer)” (2021), plaster, pigments, cover glue, fiberglass, epoxy, metal, 11 x 28 x 32 inches

Candice Lin: Seeping, Rotting, Resting, Weeping continues at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts (Harvard University, 24 Quincy Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts) by means of April 10. The exhibition was curated by Dan Byers, John R. and Barbara Robinson Spouse and children Director, the Carpenter Middle for the Visible Arts, Harvard University and Victoria Sung, Associate Curator of Visible Arts, Walker Artwork Heart.


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