Painting BA (hons)

Janie Lin


Boxed set of artist’s books, drawing and painting on paper and card

This work indicates the concept of time and experience, and its relation to the unique architecture of Edinburgh. It was initially inspired by Mortimer Menpes’ Japan which investigates the intrinsic value of art in Japanese culture which is closely linked to environment and daily life.

The passage of time is associated with a house in Edinburgh and its chimney, roof and staircase; experience is signified by the close observation about subtle changes on immoveable architecture. This relation between time and experience is explored in two and three-dimensional formats; and through the contrast between regular/symmetrical and organic/fluctuated shapes.

The collection of books challenges traditional formats and can be laid out as a mini installation in multiple ways.


Source material

Mortimer Menpes, Japan (London, 1902), 
Chivers illustrated ‘vellucent’ binding
DiscoverEd URL

Shelf mark

Special Collections: Bdg.s.37

Portrait & interview

1. What was it about this project and brief that originally appealed to you?

This project focuses on the concept of time and experience, and its relation to the unique architecture of Edinburgh. I was inspired by Mortimer Menpes, Japan collected by the Centre for Research Collections (CRC), it finds close relation between intrinsic value of Japanese art/culture and daily life. This project is highly associated with daily scene in Edinburgh particularly investigating about details of architecture constructed historically. I investigate the unique shapes, line and structure of houses throughout undulating topography in Edinburgh and its relation to concept on time. Being influenced by the art practice, relation between time and experience is signified by contrast between regular/symmetrical and organic/fluctuated shapes.

2. What was your approach in searching for material that you wanted to work with?

Since materiality is important in this project that weight, form and texture are associated with concept of time and experience. I was looking for materials which relate to characteristic of time, the things that is commonly seen, close to our daily lives but may be forgotten. I also value neglectful and abandoned materials which are not easily noticeable; and it accumulates gradually through time. I observe details of surroundings as a way to experience subtly of time.

3. Did you find anything about the project challenging?

Since I usually express ideas through installation which investigate communication between sculpture and environment, I found this project challengeable to explore ideas through paper since it is a thin and two dimensional material. Therefore, developing ideas from two to three dimension turned out to be an interesting progress. And a simple material would have more possibilities for development.

4. How has this project had impact on your art practice?

I would say these two projects developed differently since a portable book is varied from spacial installation. However, they eventually complemented each other well. Art practice encouraged me to explore unconventional format and presentation of book. On the other hand, this project inspired me to focus on lines and shapes, and therefore enhances visual perception of installation.

5. What advice would you give to someone doing this project next year?

This is a worth experiencing project that it provides diverse opportunities to work with different departments. As a practical and constructive project, it enhances ability to develop artistic potential. This project also provides opportunities to engage with various activities such as exhibition, volunteering and art fair that it is a good chance to improve self development in different aspects.

Copyright & open licence

Copyright © Janie Lin, The University of Edinburgh 2020 CC BY-SA

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

CC BY-SA license