In recent years, waterways, river tracing, and subway cars provided leads for Lin Yi-Wei’s constant contemplation of the relationship between movement and migration in the process of developing a work narrative. Given an option to serve at the National Immigration Agency (NIA) on active duty from 2014 to 2015, he worked to assist in interviewing foreign immigrants to Taiwan; this provided limited practical experiences from which to re-contemplate narrative fragments that reflect the outlines of contemporary life.
Late-night Taipei street scenes and government offices, specifically interiors of buildings or exterior plants and landscaping that extend into public spaces, comprise the content for paintings completed during his period of active service at the NIA including Bird Garden, Escalator, Column of Water, and Garden. Through the expressive mode of painting, these scenes reveal a meditation on the sense of space within a garden. Works from the Night Run series were completed after Lin finished up at the NIA and returned to his life on the riverside city to continue making artwork. The lacquer and acrylic pigments used in making this series react in completely different ways to water, but both have a glossy aspect. These characteristics enable Lin to embed his personal experiences of a transitional state while exercising in public spaces late at night.
All objects, including the self, find resonance with the surrounding environment during a night run. The process of immersing the self into the environment enables the artist to reveal a most “present” stance while processing abstract information. The palm trees, stray dogs, and fireworks depicted in the paintings conceal a visual narrative of colonization, immigration, nature, and contemporaneity, blended together in a ghostly manner. The lights flicker but are never extinguished in this contemporary “City of Subway Cars” that exists in narrative form, and carries its inhabitants in a consistent progressive state of movement.