Jenny Lin is a multidisciplinary visual artist based in Montreal. Her practice centres around experimental narrative, including autobiography, fiction and autobiographical fiction. She has created alternative readings of mainstream narratives, particularly reframing the ambiguous and fragmented tropes in storytelling as sites for transgressive actions and identities. Using digitally-rendered and hand-drawn imagery, she uses print media, video or web-based platforms to explore formats including 2-D print, artist books and zines, single and multi-channel video, installation and interactive web projects. Some of her book projects were created in collaboration with Eloisa Aquino as B&D Press. Jenny Lin completed a BFA degree at the University of Calgary (1994-98) and an MFA at Concordia University (1998-2001). She currently teaches at Concordia University as a sessional instructor in the Print Media Program Area.
Storytelling is an important part of my practice. I often create narrative-based projects that make reference to familiar tropes or formulaic plot devices of mainstream television and literature, using these pre-existing structures, at times, to fast-forward through a narrative up to the points of difference. Working with these structures, I insert personal narrative and ambiguous actions, instances of awkwardness and banality in order to challenge expectations and bring focus to alternative readings of the narrative tropes. Recurring subjects that run throughout my practice include queerness, discomfort, emotional catharsis and overturned relationship hierarchies.
Rather than clear-cut linear narrative events, my work offers fragmented descriptive details of ambiguous tableaux. The viewer is dropped into the midst of a scene and must try to put together the pieces or fill in the gaps to complete the narrative and find meaning within it. By doing so, the viewer becomes implicated in advancing a narrative or presuming meaning despite having incomplete signs.
My influences have included pop culture genres of storytelling such as horror, alien sci-fi, and melodrama, genres which peak my interest as landscapes ripe with the possibility to envision the "unimaginable" and to exaggerate the familiar so that it becomes foreign and extraordinary. Within the context of these genres, I have been interested, also, in the contradictions that occur when the strange and unimaginable are formulaically created so that they run full-circle and become somehow predictable and commonplace.
In more recent works, my focus has been on less fantastical forms of storytelling and more to the everyday as a setting for my narratives.