Remaking, 2008. Xuan paper, ink, wax, and wood, 70 x 78 x 18 in.

The Next Step Forward: Lin Yan

Lin Yan comes from an illustrious Chinese art family. Her grandfather, Pang Xunqin, studied painting in Paris from 1925 through 1930 and developed something of a Western outlook; when he returned to Shanghai in 1931, he established the Storm Society, the first influential modern avant-garde group in China. In the 1950s, he founded the Chinese Academy for Arts and Crafts in Beijing, China’s first school of art and design, and wrote a book on the decorative arts across the dynasties that is still used as a textbook on Chinese design. Lin Yan’s father studied in Leningrad and returned to China to teach at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (also in Beijing), his country’s foremost art school, until 1998. Lin Yan herself was first educated by her parents, then at the Central Academy, where she studied oil painting (1980–84). In late 1985, she followed her family’s tradition to study abroad. In Paris, as she has said in conversation, she became her own person, free of China and independent of her parents. Meeting many people and traveling throughout Europe, she also grew as an unfettered artist, making work to satisfy her own sensibility. In 1986, Lin Yan continued her studies at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, where she had received an assistantship. Her future husband, the painter Wei Jia, was also studying there, having arrived a year earlier. The small college town was not exciting, so the two would travel to New York, which was not very far away, to visit galleries and museums.…see the entire article in the print version of September’s Sculpture magazine.