Dancing with Gutai Art Manifesto 1956


Gutai, founded by YOSHIHARA Jiro in Ashiya in 1954, is one of the most remarkable artist collectives and art movements in the postwar-Japan context for its pioneering, radical and performative approach and experimentation on art making. As Gutai Art Manifesto published in 1956 states, “Gutai Art does not alter the material, but brings it to life.”

Through wearing light bulbs, passing through framed papers, moving on the mud, drawing by feet, throwing bottles of pigment, and sculpting smoke on stage, the Gutai artists have challenged boundaries of art, choreographed relations between objects and the body, and conceptually performed intersections of the liveness and visual art.

How Gutai’s conception and practice would arguably chart the history of performance art and inspire a new lexicon of today’s live art is a point of departure for River Lin to conceive this project “Dancing with Gutai Art Manifesto (1956).”

Transforming the Gutai Art Manifesto into a score and revisiting selected works of TANAKA Atsuko, SHIRAGA Kazuo, MURAKAMI Saburo and SHIMAMOTO Shozo among others, this project attempts to replay a series of actions, movements and happenings as expanded choreography straddling painting, sculpture, installation, participation and performance via a collective process and rehearsal. 






Cocept, choreography, installation: River Lin
Artistic collaboration and performance: Tien Hsiao-Tzu, Chen Jun-Yu, Chien Shih-Han, Hsu Jia-Ling, Chang Yun-Chen, Chen Hsin-Hung, Eric Tsai, Li Wen-Hao, Chen I-Chien. 

Duration: 5 hours
Premiere: 18 November 2020 at C-Lab Taiwan, part of the exhibition Re:Play.


Production: NPO Dance Archive Network and Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab
Presentation: Re:Play and TOKYO REAL UNDERGROUND—Tokyo Tokyo Festival Special 13 (TBD).
Special thanks: KATO Mizuho 

photo by You-wei Chen


My body is a queer history museum


concept & direction :  River Lin
performance: Tseng Chih-Wei, Chang Ko-Yang,  Hsu Sheng-Han , Chien Shih-Han, Huang Gia-Yeh, Sherwin Chimera, Lee Song-En.
commissioned and presented by Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei.
curated by Cheng-Ta Yu

7-8 December, 2019. 
duration: 4 hours, audiences are allowed to come and go at any points.

The project considers that the body, in the context of contemporary art, as a museological site in which memories and identities have been continuously collected and formulated as an embodiment of the historical and social process. Bringing together a group of performers who identify themselves as heterosexual, homosexual, female, male, fathers, sons, daughters and beyond, “My body is a queer history museum” opens up a breadth of gender politics and performs its fluid status.

Through a 4-day workshop, the performers have been mentally and physically naked to exchange and learn from one another. It examines issues ranging over what the equality means, the oppositional complexity between religious and same-sex-marriage views, the discovery of fixed or fluid sexual orientation, the good or bad sexual experiences, and the relevance between sexuality and gender among others. They/we then have got to understand selves in the social reality during the rehearsing progress.

This project thus shows discursive progress from the concerns above. Conflating sculpture, choreography catwalk, dragging, dancing, story-telling, karaoke, workshop, and conversation, it becomes a durational performance and live-exhibition. As a socially-engaged situation, it decodes and negotiates the notion of Western art history, pop-cultural phenomena and educational and social mechanism through the queer lens. Audience members are also invited to act as participants and become a crucial part of this exhibition.

In the name of investing the historical progress, My body is queer history museum actually personifies where we all might are, and draws intersections of the queer practice and methodology of exhibition-making.

photo by You-wei Chen, Wei Chang, and Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts. 


20 Minutes for the 20th Century, but Asian

20 Minutes for the 20th Century, but Asian is a live exhibition investigating identities, memories and historical embodiments of the dance history in the last century. 

The title and format of this work parody artist Tino Sehgal’s early work 20 Minutes for the 20th Century (1999) that menifests a museum of dance history through a collage of 20 iconic choreographies of Merce Cunningham, Pina Bausch, Xavier Le Roy and Jérôme Bel among others.

This “but Asian” piece however does not reenact scores of Asian choreographers. It actually negotiates and questions what the notion of “westernized” modern dance has been translated and integrated into “ the Eastern” while looking back the colonial history in the Asia-Pacific region.

The dancer performs discursive progress from the collective body and memory to the individual through a choreographic transformation of inter-cultural embodiment, drawing a (im)possible lexicon of what “Asian” might mean.

Concept & choreography :  River Lin
Artistic collaboration: Lin Wen-Chung

Performance :   Lin Wen-chung (Taipei and Kaohsuing in 2016; Valenciennes, Paris, Hong Kong in 2018; Dubai in 2019) ; Wen Zu-Wei (Shanghai and Taipei in 2019), and Peng Shih-ya (Work-in-Progress preview in Paris 2016)

- Camping Asia, Taipei, 2019
- Ming Contemporary Art Museum, Shanghai, 2019
- Asia Contemporary Art Week - Field Meeting 6, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, 2019
- Body Dance Vision project, Cattle Depot Artist Village, Hong Kong, 2018
- Camping, Centre National de la Danse, Paris, 2018
- Festival Cabaret of Curiosities, Le Phénix, Valenciennes, 2018
- Taipei Biennial 2016
- Weiwuying Arts Festival 
- Asia Now: Paris Asian Art Fair 2016 (work-in-progress preview)  

The research and development of "20 Minutes for the 20th Century, but Asian" is kindly supported by the National Culture and Arts Foundation of Taiwan.*

The work-in-progress preview is performed by Paris-based Taiwanese dancer Shih-ya Peng.

This work at Taipei Biennial 2016 performs at the exhibition space of "Five Hundred Lemon Trees: An Organic Archive", the solo show of HUANG Po-Chih at Taipei Fine Arts Museum. 

photo by Asia Contemporary Art Week (Dubai, 2019) , River Lin (Paris, 2018), and Chen Youwei (Taipei, 2016)


Huxian Memorial Hall


Concept, video, photography, installation and performance: River Lin
model:Tseng Chih-wei

- part of the exhibition Mulan Make Up! , presented by Taiwan Academy Los Angeles, 2019. Curated by Yu Cheng-ta. 
- 2020 Taiwan Biennial, curated by Yao Juichung

Huxian, the god of the fox in ancient Chinese legends, is viewed as male/female/human/animal and known for performing the fluidity of gender, sexuality and eroticism. Huxian’s pronoun is [they/them/their]. Nowadays, people seeking love worship them.

Through performance, video, photography and installation of the work Huxian Memorial Hall, River Lin creates an altar and a fiction about Huxian’s incarnation of LGBTQ figures and activists who have passed away by will or against will, from across Asia in the 20th Century and today.

Taiwan, in 2019, has been comparatively fortunate becoming the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage. However, many of the LGBTQ community in Asia still suffer. To remember “them”, audiences are invited to concern that all of the names in this artwork who have paved the way of the freedom and ‘love wins’ that we hold today.

Memorial figures and names in this project include:

Leslie Cheung, 1956-2003, Hong Kong (張國榮)
Qiu Miao-Jin, 1969-1995, Taiwan (邱妙津)
Tien Chi-yuan, 1964-1996, Taiwan (田啓元)
Yeh Yung-chih, 1985-2000, Taiwan (葉永鋕)
Mishima Yukio, 1925-1970, Japan (三島由紀夫)
Yato Tamotsu, 1928-1973, Japan (矢頭保)
Ko Masaki, 1983-2013, Japan (真崎航)
Mickey Chen, 1967-2018, Taiwan (陳俊志)
Yun Hyon-Seok, 1984-2003, South Korea (尹賢碩)
Lino Brocka, 1939-1991, Philippines
Geoffrey Bawa, 1919-2003, Sri Lanka
Bhupen Khakhar, 1934-2003, India
Hande Kader, 1993-2016, Turkey
Tseng Kwong-chi, 1950-1990, USA / Hong Kong (曾廣智)
Xulhaz Mannan 1976-2016 ,Bangladesh.
Tonette Lopez, 1976-2006, Philippines.
Paddy Chew, 1960-1999, Singapore (周豐林)
Chisho Takaoka, 1896-1995, Japan (高岡智照)
Freddie Mercury, 1946–1991, UK / India.
Ismail Merchant, 1936-2005 , UK/ India
Kim Ji-hoo, 1985–2008, South Korea (金智厚)

A very brief theirstory of Huxian
paper printed on wall, part of Huxian Memorial Hall
text by River Lin

Huxian (Fox Immortal or Fox Fairy), are ancient deities from the Chinese region. Huxian’s origins contain factors of god and animal. And importantly, Huxian physically appear as both males and females and beyond. Huxian govern and protect agriculture and its natural ecology, blessing human productions of the everyday life. 

Huxian have no family, but lovers. At the end of the day, no body confirms if they have a certain partner. They have a hard emotional life. Huxian are not interested in other deities and always falling in love with humans. The problem is, human beings usually have not that much sensibilities and the intelligence to appreciate Huxian’s love. Fear, misunderstanding, ignorance and disability of inclusive love have pushed Huxian away.

Huxian eventually realize that they need incarnation. This seems to be the only way to fix the broken relationship between humans and Huxian. In a physical world, with the compassion, Huxian would feel what humans feel, experience what humans have been through, and even suffer from love and injustice like a human.

In the 20th Century, Huxian have had several reincarnations of human figures. Some are still alive today, some passed away. And, some are vibrant and talented to be notable as they are recognized as “queer” figures in the modern society. In the human world, the physical reincarnations of Huxian have been involved in the notion and practice of so-called queerness or LGBTQ. 

In the East Asia, for instance, there is one born in Taiwan, a pioneering writer on today’s Chinese lesbian and feminist literature. There is one born in Hong Kong, a pop-singer and movie actor who has remarkably performed the gender fluid through his artistic practice, and influenced the queer voice of the Chinese entertainment industry in particular. There is one born in Japan, a legendary writer in the Post-War time who has been fascinated to perform his physical perfection of body. And another one in South-Korea, a poet who has dedicated himself to the social movement of LGBT right. In Turkey, there is a young female LGBT activist murdered. They have all left the world, with an unforgettably cultural, political and artistic legacy.

Today, Huxian, and their incarnations who are born with life missions still continuously perform the belief and power of love, justice and inclusivity.


An Art History on Escalators


concept & choreography :  River Lin
artistic collaborator : Yuju Lin

The performance An Art History on Escalators site-specifically locates live sculptures on a set of escalators at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, in an up-and-down loop.

The work plays with a series of famous body images of paintings and statues from the western art history in the last century to the context of pop culture. It aims to spontaneously and immaterially draw a body-based chain of images in the exhibition space, as a reflection on material-based work.

The visual text in this performance includes works such as The Son of Man (1964) and The Lovers (1928) by René Magritte; The Birth of Venus (1486) by Sandro Botticelli; The Creation of Adam (1512) and David (1504) by Michelangelo Buonarroti; Mona Lisa (1517) and Vitruvian Man (1490) by Leonardo Da Vinci; The Thinker (1880) by Auguste Rodin; The Gleaners (1857) by Jean-François Millet; The Scream (1893) by Edvard Munch; Gabrielle d'Estrées and One of Her Sisters (1594) by an anonymous artist; Christ On The Cross (1632) by Diego Velazquez; Imponderabilia (1977) by Marina Abramović and Ulay; and the iconic pose of Buddha, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Japanese manga Sailor Moon, and the hollywood movie Logan, Spider Man and Titanic among others.

This work is durational and the duration is variable.

photo by Chang Wei