Artist Michael Lin began developing a reputation in the late 1990s for painting vast, bold designs on sober architectural settings, interventions that injected a vibrant sense of play. At PEM Lin spotlights the renowned collection of Asian export art. Lin created a sprawling mural of original armorial and heraldic motifs (elaborate coats of arms) that climb up the walls of the Mellon Staircase and along the floor of the Export Silver Galleries.
To animate the history of trade between China and the West, Lin also created a large-scale installation comprised of hundreds of replicas of Mr. Nobody, one of the first representations of a European gentleman in Chinese porcelain. Photographs that document the creation of the replicas in a factory in China are interspersed among 19th-century gouaches from the PEM collection that depict the historic porcelain production process.
Generous support for FreePort [No. 005]: Michael Lin provided by Fay Chandler. PEM also wishes to thank donors to the 2012 FreePort Fund: Terry and Dick Albright, Jeffrey P. Beale, Mr. Alfred D. Chandler III and The Reverend Susan Esco Chandler. Additional support provided by Mandarin Oriental, Boston, and the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.