Candice Lin: Pigs and Poison

Spike Island, Bristol, 5 February – 8 May

Candice Lin, Pigs and Poison (2022). Installation view, Spike Island, Bristol. Courtesy the artist, Spike Island and François Ghebaly. Photograph by Max McClure

Twice a day, a trebuchet bombards the gallery. Solemnly set up by an invigilator donning a bacteria-patterned hooded cloak, the oversized weighted catapult is loaded with a small sphere consisting of lard, wax and a black pigment made with animal bones. On release, the lard-bone ball is slung in a lazy arc over a barrier bisecting the room, with a chained metal gate in the shape of large, staring eyes and topped with barbed wire. The ball thuds into the opposite wall and splats to the ground, leaving a dark, diarrhetic mess. This spectacular action at the start of Candice Lin’s ‘Pigs and Poison’ is just the most overt battlefield at play in the exhibition, which stages a fractured web of conflicting histories, ideologies and lifeforms. The unlikely causalities of these conflicts litter the show: in the painting Pig Carcass in the Arizona Desert, 2020, the titular pig lying in a damp clearing is swollen, rotten and grey, but is also dressed in shoes, jeans and a T-shirt. Dotted through the hallway are three Flesh Lumps, 2020, misshapen, pink and veiny blobs that at points sprout ears or half-formed limbs, lined with scabrous wounds. They might seem dead, but here, Lin seems to suggest, is where other lives begin.

Continue reading