Home Magazine Linling Lu’s take on Multisensorial Meditation through Sound and Color

An introspective look into The Phillips Collections first 2023 project ‘Intersections’. 

Related Articles: Conceptual dreams on canvas: an inspiring conversation with Nika Zupančič , Get to Know Ulrich Panzer


One Hundred Melodies of Solitude No.177 Courtesy of Trimper Gallery


Linling Lu’s latest work combines her exploration of space and color with a focus towards the immersivity of sound, through a collaboration with Timo Andres’s piano performance of Phillip Glass’s Etude no. 16, to create a series of work suggestive of deep introspection.

Soundwaves, on display from February 9 to April 30 at The Phillips Collection, consisted of a series of works that proposed an intricate display of the synesthetic qualities already present in Linling Lu series of works One Hundred Melodies of Solitude. For this project, Lu presented twelve of her evocative rings of color in direct relation to the notes played by Glass’s Etude no. 16. Seven paintings are thoroughly placed at the left side of the space alluding to the seven notes played by the left hand. Likewise the remaining five works, placed at the right side of the gallery, represented the notes played on the piano by the right hand throughout the melody. As stated by Lu, each painting became “an instrument, a source of sound that materializes the poetic quality of music,” by being able to transmit rhythm and sound through multiple colored schemes. This is by no chance, as the artist herself happens to be a classically trained pianist, inspired by music itself and the likes of her favorite composers Bach and Chopin, whose music transported her to a meditative state whilst creating her works. 

Lingling Lu’s practice happens to be deeply rooted in her background. She first studied landscape architecture at the Beijing Forestry University, followed by a BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, and later on achieved a MFA at the Hoffberger School of Painting. During her early years in the U.S as a non-native English speaker, she would spend most of her time listening, with a focus and keen interest towards natural sound patterns, such as birds or the leaves rustling. This, according to Lu, became a sort of meditation throughout her isolation periods, whilst painting away from friends and family. This in turn added on to her relationship with sound itself and the meditative qualities that can be found in her work.

One Hundred Melodies of Solitude No.111 Courtesy of Trimper Gallery


Another prominent aspect in Lu’s One Hundred Melodies of Solitude is the circle, which not only is the canvas itself, but the repetition of circular rings that radiate ceaselessly. Throughout her studies in architecture, Lu mentions how “the circle found her”; She came to notice how the Moon Gates in traditional Chinese gardens were “transitions of two worlds”, that ignited a passion for understanding the subtle meanings that perpetuated throughout the relationship of time and space.

Lu’s series of works in One Hundred Melodies of Solitude possess major qualities that draw the viewer into multiple sceneries. Whether it is a sunlit calm summer sky in No. 218, or an alluring forest in No. 120, each piece acts like mirrors to the viewer. Their perceived notion of the work is affected through their physical or emotional reaction to it, resurfacing emotions and memories that transport the audience into an ethereal space, which remains ephemeral, yet lasting between the works and their presence.

Cover Image: One Hundred Melodies of Solitude No.99, Courtesy of Trimper Gallery

Written by: Kooness

Stay Tuned on Kooness Art Magazine for more exciting news from the art world.