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A Kind of Machine Called Liberation

009_02 / 30 July 2015


A Kind of Machine Called 'Liberation'


Video documentation of performance, 10 min


A Kind of Machine Called 'Liberation' uses concrete bricks, comments on urban destruction. Responding to the US invasion of Iraq, this work operates as a visual metaphor for the disaster that the war would provoke. Yilin lies with his leg trapped beneath a circular wall of concrete blocks, as a grown man on a child's bicycle wheels over the surface. This leads to the collapse of the wall, yet the performer continues to ride through the rubble. The image left by this scene at the end is the most pertinent, echoing that of war-torn urban areas. The viewers also become implicated as they have stood by and watched the relentless trampling that has lead to this outcome. As an artist from China living in New York, Yilin is positioned partially as an outsider looking in, thus his commentary relates to the global impact of an otherwise geographically specific conflict.


This work was part of A Prologue to the Past and Present State of Things, a group exhibition at Delfina Foundation. See the online catalogue in Ibraaz publications here.

About the author

Lin Yilin

Lin Yilin (b.1964, Guangzhou, lives and works in New York and Beijing). Lin Yilin is a founding member of the Big Tail Elephant Group, an artist collective founded in 1990 by Lin Yilin, Chen Shaoxiong, and Liang Juhui and later joined by Xu Tan.


Select exhibitions include Another Long March: Cities on the Move (1997) at Vereinigung bildender Kunstler Wiener Secession, Vienna, Austria; Second Johannesburg Biennale (1997) in South Africa; Inside Out: New Chinese Art (1998) at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, USA; 50th Venice Biennale (2003), Venice, Italy; Documenta 12 (2007), Kassel, Germany; and Le Mouvement: Performing the City (2014), the 12th Swiss Sculpture Exhibition, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland.