In the performance Safely Maneuvering across Lin He Road, Lin moved a pile of bricks across Lin He Road in Guangzhou (a busy main street in the new town) for ninety minutes in June 1995. He started to build a wall with the load of bricks on one side of Lin He Road, then removed the bricks from the wall, row by row, to rebuild the wall in the middle of the road. By repeating the same gesture for hours, he finally moved the entire wall to the opposite side of the road. This durational performance not only turned a stable wall into a moving one, but also interrupted the busy traffic.
As a consistent sign for Lin, brick is closely related to architectural construction and destruction in contemporary China. It also indicated urbanization and social transformation. With the use of this direct and simple form, Lin intervened in a public site with his body and reflected the impact of rapid urbanization that people may not be aware of or had already grown accustomed to.
Born 1964 in Guangzhou, Lin Yilin currently lives and works in Beijing and New York City. He graduated in the 1980s from the sculpture department of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. A cofounder of the Big Tail Elephant Group, an important Chinese avant-garde artist group, along with Chen Shaoxing, Liang Juhui and Xu Tan (who joined a year later), active in Guangzhou in the 1990s. They mainly focused on installation and occasional performance art with an interest in responding to the modernization and urban transformation happening around them in Guangzhou. Lin is internationally known for his performances using concrete blocks to demonstrate his urban interventions criticizing social transformation in contemporary China. Over the years, Lin has participated in numerous international exhibitions.