Testing the water: Maya Lin's new river installations at Pace Gallery Hong Kong

White room, wooden floor, white spotlights on a frame around the edge of the ceiling, two wooden posts topped with white model exhibition piece
American artist and architect Maya Lin presents her first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, at the city's Pace Gallery outpost
(Image credit: TBC)

American artist and architect Maya Lin’s thoughtful exhibition at Pace Gallery’s Hong Kong outpost offers a salutary lesson in the power of simple and pure forms reflecting a deeper meaning.

Lin first made a name for herself as a student at Yale University with her design of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, in 1982. According to the artist, a love for the natural world and a fascination in the places between things run through all her work, whether architectural design or artistic installations.

In her first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, Lin explores the natural beauty and form of rivers, utilising high tech geographical information to create an elegantly simple series of eleven works, two of which – striking wall sculptures – are on show for the first time. 

The first, Pin River – Yangtze, 2015, is a 5.8m-long sculptural installation of steel pins that form an outline of the Yangtze, the longest river in Asia. The second, Silver Pearl, 2015, is smaller (at 1.7m) but is the undoubted highlight of the show, presenting a bird’s eye view of the glistening Pearl River Delta as a molten abstract form in recycled silver.

‘Using silver, a precious material that also has a reflective water-like quality, presents these rivers as extremely precious and jewel-like,’ says the artist, who is working on a series that will incorporate all the major rivers of the world.

Other beguiling works on show include two marble sculptures, titled Disappearing Bodies of Water, 2013 – showing how over-usage of water has reduced the depths of Lake Chad and the Aral Sea.

White wall, silver sculpture depicting the line of a river, wooden floor

Her new sculptures depict recognisable rivers, and describe with exceptional geographical accuracy the shape they carve into the land – as seen here in this 5.8m long sculpture Pin River – Yangtze, 2015

(Image credit: TBC)

White background, close up of a series of tightly pinned steel pins to form part of the river artwork

Pin River – Yangtze is constucted from a series of tightly positioned steel pins

(Image credit: TBC)

White room, wooden floor, white spotlights on a frame around the edge of the ceiling, two wooden posts topped with white model exhibition piece, framed pictures in a row around the centre of the gallery walls

The exhibition also contains two striking, wooden-based, marble-topped works – immutable materials chosen to depict water bodies on the cusp of drying up. Pictured centre-left: Disappearing Bodies of Water: Lake Chad, 2013. Centre-right: Disappearing Bodies of Water: Aral Sea, 2013

(Image credit: TBC)

White wall, molten silver pearl sculpture

Two of the sculptural works (including Silver Pearl, 2015, pictured) are entirely new, never shown prior to this exhibition

(Image credit: TBC)

White wall, close up of the molten silver pearl sculpture

Silver Pearl drips down the wall in recycled, molten silver – it's a highlight of the show

(Image credit: TBC)


'Maya Lin' is on view until 12 March. For more information, visit Pace Gallery's website


Pace Gallery Hong Kong
15C Entertainment Building
30 Queens Road Central
Hong Kong