Weng Ling’s Dialogue with Maya Lin
Time: April 2010
Location: New York, USA
As a distinguished Chinese-American architect, artist and environmentalist, Maya Lin became famous at the age of 21 with the design of the Vietnam War Memorial in the United States, and has since spent the next 40 years exploring the fields of architecture, art and environmentalism simultaneously in an extremely rigorous and professional manner.
With the courage to break the boundaries of disciplines, even seemly two opposing extremes – science and art, reason and intuition, the West and the East, public and private – have been balanced and fused in Lin’s calm and free expression. Such a philosophy and pursuit is deeply in tune with the ethos of IDEAS, founded by Weng Ling.
This issue of “Arts China” documents a fascinating interview with integrated art curator Weng Ling, who travelled to New York in the spring of 20ten to visit Lin’s studio. In this historical dialogue, Weng Ling extends an invitation from multiple perspectives. Lin’s extremely heartfelt narrative leads us into a holistic reflection on nature, history, society, architecture, art and environmental protection. In this interview ten years ago, Lin already confessed that the world we live in has been pushed to a huge turning point by humankind, whose fate would depend on the actions and practices of each and every one of us.
Looking back over the past ten years, Lin’s concerns and expectations are invaluable. How do we think about development? How is practice unfolding? It has always been the mission of IDEAS to put new ideas that drive positive social change into effective practice. Moreover, the many conversations in “Arts China” provide a vivid sample of the transition from thought to practice with Weng Ling as the perspective of observation.
In the wake of the pandemic, the spirit of Lin’s new work, Ghost Forest, is consistent with that of its predecessor. Back in 2009, Lin exhibited one of the most important works of her career at the Beijing Center for the Arts, founded by Weng Ling. What is Missing was the “last monument” Lin announced after creating monuments to the Vietnam War, civil rights, women’s rights and Indians, to commemorate “The sixth mass extinction of species on Earth”.
Following the thread, Lin’s works all present the pain of our common loss by expressing beauty and lament. Whether natural, historical or personal, they allow us to enter these works to consider how humanity will awaken.
About Arts China
In 2010, Weng Ling led the planning and production of China’s first high-end crossover art and culture documentary and interview program “Arts China”. It focused, for the first time, on the changes in China contemporary art over the past 30 years, bridging the fields of contemporary visual arts, architecture, design, music, dance, theater and film. The program takes a professional perspective, cutting into the current social development and human life, and provides in-depth records and interviews with fifty top creative talents and opinion leaders who have influenced the world of Chinese art and culture, seeking to witness together with the audience – “Art, another power to change society”. This project has left valuable first-hand information and documents for the history of China contemporary art. In 2015, Weng established the “Arts China Alliance” in Hong Kong, which gathers people who are active at the forefront of various fields in China and around the world, using pioneering ideas and professional projects to promote social and urban changes and inspire new artistic thinking. The alliance also stimulates crossover innovation in the fields of art and humanities, environmental protection, technology, and public welfare, bringing reference and learning from different fields for the benevolent change of society.