Lin Zhipeng (林志鹏), aka 223 (China, 1979)
Graduated from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies with major of financial English, Lin Zhipeng is a photographer and freelancer writer based in Beijing. Created in 2003, his blog “North Latitude 23” where he published everyday pictures accompanied by short texts received millions views and made him famous among the web community. Presented for ten years in group exhibitions in China and abroad , Lin’s works have also been the object of several solo shows both nationally and internationally (Walther Collection Ulm ; De Sarthe Gallery Beijing ; Stieglitz19 Gallery Antwerp ; M97 Gallery Shanghai; Delaware Contemporary Museum, etc). He has published photography books in Taiwan, France, Canada and Japan.
Lin is a leading figure of new Chinese photography emerging in the last decade, popularizing his work originally via social media and other online platforms as well as his self-published zines. Lin’s work has come to reflect and define a certain zeitgeist of the post-80’s and 90’s generation of non-mainstream Chinese youth. Amidst an otherwise conservative and often closed traditional society and cultural background, Lin’s photographs act as a collective not-so-private diary of a young generation wishing to escape the pressures from a high-stakes society and play within its limits. Faded flowers tangled with flesh tones, myriad patterns mixing with an emotional ambiguity of both love and chaos, fantasy and eroticism. 223’s works are saturated with a soft sense of carefreeness, a playful innocence, and a certain optimism amidst a hedonist lifestyle going against the expected pleasures and entrapments of the middle class dream.
Naming himself “No. 223” after the police character in Wong Kar-Wai’s movie Chungking Express, Lin also adopts a sense of the Hong Kong director’s poetic and dreamy atmosphere as well as the loneliness and mystery of many of his film’s characters. Lin Zhipeng offers his point of view on an alternative youth spirit and culture in an often conservatively Chinese cultural context. His spontaneous photographs portray a young generation who indulge in love and life, oscillating between jubilation and deep melancholy, playful sexuality and often just the simple human need to be loved in an otherwise indifferent and ever-changing society.