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Zhong Lin

Zhong Lin was born in Malaysia and discovered photography at university while studying communication. Initially fascinated by black-and-white film, the self-taught photographer gradually turned to colour, starting to polish her artistic mark. Her palette is rich with vivid hues and her compositions vibrant with theatrical poses. Zhong Lin takes inspiration in Chinese opera with its outrageous make-up, meticulous precision and sparse décor, and always places the model at the centre of her work. Inspired by Japanese horror artists, she plays with the body, covering it in wax or plastic, or wrapping it in fabric. 

Her surrealist shots have been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, L’Officiel and Vogue. The prolific artist is always taking on new projects. During the pandemic, she set herself the herculean challenge of creating a new visual every day for a year. A proper creative manifesto, Project 365 is but a confirmation of her poetic and fantastic imprint. Zhong Lin achieves an unprecedented metamorphosis of the body, at times drowned, twisted or even blossoming. Both fascinating and frightening, her photographs can arouse fear, calm or desire. Her intent is clear: provoke a sensitive and transcendent experience. 

Zhong Lin explores timeless themes, evocative of universal sensations. She was exposed to Indian music, Malaysian cuisine and American cinema from an early age; and her parents conversed in Chinese, English and Malaysian. Such syncretism plays a foundational role in her work, invoking the universal unconscious. In this light, the images chosen by the photographer for Wombat relate to themes of nudity and water. All people share a relationship with water, regardless of their origin. Water protects the infant in the womb; water brings life and death; water brings fear and calm. Zhong Lin magnifies this invisible bond and explores the theme in all its forms: bubbles, drops and tears are the hallmarks of her photographs. She intends to stimulate the viewer’s senses and awaken memories: a first kiss, the smell of rain... 

Water plays an ambivalent role in the art print featured in this box. Bathing implies silence and calm, but also drowning. Oxygen bubbles are the only thing keeping the model alive. These delicate air pockets give the photograph its vitality, and provide protection and connection between the viewer and the distant, almost detached model. With her red lips and diaphanous skin, the sleeping woman is as sensual as she is grim, just like Zhong Lin’s enigmatic photograph. The artist instils ambiguity between disorder and calm, fear and languor. Zhong Lin praises the freedom to create, without borders, without limits, without definition, and leaves interpretation to the viewer’s discretion.

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