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2022 Sep. /

Taiwan Design Expo

Kaohsiung Port Warehouse No.5, Design Zone, Kaohsiung 

These years, Tzu-Fen is obsessed with fungus. Most Fungi are inconspicuous because of the small size of their structures, and their mysterious lifestyles in soil or on dead matter. Nevertheless, fungi perform an essential role in the decomposition of organic matter and have fundamental roles in nutrient cycling and exchange in the environment. They can even help building underground network across trees, so called wood wide web.

The vast majority of fungi are saprophytic(sapro = rotten, phyto = plant), feeding on dead organic material. Saprophytic fungi are the largest group of (macro) fungi, responsible for breaking down and recycling dead plant and animal material. These are the fruit-bodies you see on dead trees, leaf litter, animal bones, even dungs.

Inspired by saprophytic fungi, Tzu-Fen sewed industrial textile leftover into large-scale sculptures that look like fallen leaves, and made recycled plastic bags into saprophytic mushrooms. From Tzu-Fen perspective, the Yancheng District is like layers of humus with rich cultural heritage in Kaohsiung. Old buildings and unused spaces are like dead leaves and branches ready to be decomposed. Artists and creators work as saprophytic fungus that could live off dead plant materials in this creative area. It is creative people that bring the old district of Kaohsiung to life.

Background of Yancheng District​

Located besides the Kaohsiung Port, Yancheng District used to be the most prosperous and bustling area in old time. During the Japanese Occupation Period, the Yancheng district, so called the Ginza of Taiwan, became the earliest developed economic and trade center in Kaohsiung. After the Japanese left and the US military stationed in, Yancheng even became the most prosperous and luxurious area in Kaohsiung City. A variety of bars, cafes or shops selling imported goods in the Western style or Japanese fashion have sprung up in small alleys from the Japanese Colonial Period to the arrival of the US military.

As the commercial center moves eastward and the population gradually decreases, Yancheng District has been the least populous district of Kaohsiung since 2004. Thus the Kaohsiung City Government and Yancheng local people have actively carried out Overall Community Construction in recent years to revitalize the prosperity of Yancheng. As community residents began to pay attention to the improvement of the cultural level, and the Kaohsiung City Government also planned the "Pier-2 Art Center" in line with community development. ​Pier-2 Art Center is a cluster of abandoned industrial warehouses converted into art galleries due to Kaohsiung's shift from industrial city to service city. With the collision of an old area and new fine art, Pier-2 becomes an area of new vitality and liveliness.

In 2018, Tzu-Fen Lin attended Textile Design & Product Development Workshop in Yancheng District, Kaoshiung after she quitted her design  job in Taipei. She learned and developed new possibilities of making textile art from the local and cultural context. She then gradually become full time fiber artist based in Taipei, Taiwan.

In 2019, she joined the up-cycled art collective “Give to Gift” and “NO!W Across Lab”, dedicate to upcycle “the waste” with participatory art in action. Afterwards, the art collective “Give to Gift” ran a pop-up shop "gREen salon" in Pier-2 Art Center in 2020 in order to showcase the possibilities of waste reducing lifestyle. They sold upcycled products and hold workshops and exhibitions.

Tzu-Fen is adept in applying urban waste, such as plastic bags and industrial textile waste, into artworks with organic shapes. She tends to interpret environmental issues and natural phenomena into sculptural art pieces, thus raising social, cultural, and environmental awareness. 

Special thanks: Ching Pin Tseng

photo by Ching Pin Tseng

Material: industrial fabric leftover, plastic bag, metal wire, cotton fabric


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