Candice Lin. Personal Protective Demon

Candice Lin, Personal Protective Demon, 2023. Installation view at GAM – Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan I Ph. Carlos Tettamanzi. Courtesy the artist and Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro


From 14 Aprile 2023 to 18 Giugno 2023


Place: GAM – Galleria d'Arte Moderna

Address: Via Palestro 16

Times: da martedì a domenica 10.00-17.30 (ultimo accesso un'ora prima dell'orario di chiusura). Lunedì chiuso. Giorni di chiusura: 25 dicembre, 1° gennaio, Lunedì di Pasqua e 1° maggio

Responsibles: Federico Giani

Ticket price: intero € 5, ridotto € 3, gratuito under 18

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From 14 April to 18 June 2023 at the GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Milan, the winner of the 6th edition of the Arnaldo Pomodoro Sculpture PrizeCandice Lin (Concord, MA, 1979) presents the installation Personal Protective Demon, curated by Federico Giani, curator of the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro.
The sculptress was awarded by the Prize Selection Committee – composed of Sebastiano Barassi, Anna Maria Montaldo, Pavel Pyś, Christian Rattemeyer, Lorenzo Respi and Andrea Viliani – and thanks to the collaboration of the Area Musei d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea of the Municipality of Milan, which shares the aims of the Prize, presents a new installation specially conceived for the space of Ignazio Gardella’s stairway, the monumental connecting point between the first and second floors of the Gallery of Modern Art, in dialogue with the artefacts of non-European origin that accompany visitors as they move from the 19th-century to the 20th-century collections.
The choice of location inside the museum’s visiting itinerary is not coincidental: in her work, in fact, the artist is accustomed to studying and drawing inspiration from marginal or forgotten contexts, reflecting on objects and materials rich in stories and socio-cultural connotations, which the observer encounters again poetically transfigured in her sculptures.
Personal Protective Demon (PPD) is a imitation marble monolith – a homage to the decorative techniques that characterize the interiors of the GAM – positioned, like a kind of totem or idol, so as to watch over a connective and liminal space of the Galleria d’Arte Moderna. The sculpture, dominating the elliptical staircase, is wrapped in indigo-coloured silk fabric, which, thanks to the action of hidden fans, is lifted intermittently, revealing its hybrid and monstrous semblances, between the human and the animal.
In defining the appearance of PPD, characterized by the presence of multiple faces and monstrous genitals, Candice Lin has blended and reworked inspirations coming from various locations and histories: from representations of divinities from Greek and Celtic mythologies that turn an oversized vulva towards spectators, to the apotropaic brooches with paradoxical representations of a sexual character that were widespread in Medieval Europe, to the images of fanciful demoniac simulacra handed down through 18th-century accounts by Western travellers in the Orient.
In a world that continues to be affected by the after-effects of the pandemic, finding itself increasingly projected towards perspectives of digital individualism, on one hand Personal Protective Demon draws from a highly diverse series of stories and traditions – reinterpreting them and reactivating them – to take on an apotropaic function, while on the other, in its periodic veiling and unveiling of itself, the installation reconnects with a dimension of the fruition of art – and of sculpture in particular – that is not merely aesthetic, but cathartic, almost cultic and collective.
Like the idol-monolith, the indigo-coloured silk veil that is wrapped around it also comes about from a process of critical fabulation, a researching and working methodology through which Lin structures her works, always rooted in an in-depth investigation of the real history of people and artefacts, of traditional materials and artistic techniques, and above all of the misunderstandings and distortions that have long characterized the intercultural relations between West and East.
The silk of PPD, decorated with a motif invented by Lin by combining elements proper to Oriental silk production starting from descriptions by Western observers – who therefore hypothesize and potentially distort the nature and meaning of what they see –, has been created by following a dyeing method from the Japanese tradition using a stencil, called a Katazome, and is based on the studies conducted by Lin on museum collects that conserve Oriental fabrics, fabrics made in the Orient for the Western market as well as fabrics made in the West in the “Oriental manner”.
The installation, curated by Federico Giani, curator of the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, consolidates the Fondazione’s collaboration with the Municipality of Milan, Area Musei Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, launched in 2019 on the occasion of the 5th edition of the Prize, that also enjoys the media partnership of IGP Decaux.