Water Stains on the Wall

  LIN Hwai-min
Lighting Design
  Lulu W.L. LEE
Costume Design
  LIN Ching-ju
Projection Design
  Ethan WANG
Set Design
  LIN Hwai-min
  National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Center, R.O.C. (Taiwan);
Esplanade—Theatres on the Bay, Singapore
Movimentos Festwochen der Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany
  November 19, 2010 at the National Theater, Taipei

The virtuosity of Cloud Gate dancers has made the critics ask “when has one ever seen a company with such magical and beautiful bodies?” (Neues Deutschland) and gasp that they “possess a control and articulation that verge on the superhuman. These are performers who can make stillness every bit as eloquent as animation. In fact, they have the power to change your metabolism” (Chicago Sun Times). In his new work, Water Stains on the Wall, Lin Hwai-min challenges his dancers with the daunting task of dancing on a tilted stage with an eight degree inclination.

Covered with white Marley, the entire set looks like a blank piece of rice paper traditionally used by Chinese calligraphers and painters, onto which negative images of drifting clouds in different shades of black are projected. With movements reminiscent of free-flowing ink, these ever-morphing clouds create exquisite spaces that are constantly shifting, bringing Chinese landscape ink painting to life on stage.

Accompanied by the renowned contemporary Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa's Zen-like music using traditional Asian instruments, Cloud Gate dancers whirl and leap high on the slanted space with deceiving ease. Firmly grounded on the ramp at a height of 1.25 meters, yet appearing to be floating all the time, the dancers give the illusion of clouds and water as their light skirts are frequently “dyed” black by the projected shadows and reappear in shining white light.

The title of the work derives from a legendary conversation between two of the most respected Chinese calligraphers from the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907):

  “Where do you get inspirations for your calligraphic style?” asked Yen Chen-ching,
 whose signature style of Kai script brought Chinese calligraphy to a new height.
  “I observe summer clouds that resemble mountains with spectacular peaks,” replied
 Huai Su, the young monk who later became the most renowned master of wild cursive
 style. “The most exciting parts remind one of birds flying out of woods and
 snakes slithering into bushes. . . .”

“How about water stains on the wall?” asked Yen Chen-ching.

  “Right on! You old devil!” exclaimed Huai Su.

In reality, water stains on the wall are the result of a long process of natural, organic, and fluid evolution. The legend of the conversation established “water stains on the wall” as a popular metaphor that represents the highest aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy. Inspired by this metaphor, Lin Hwai-min and Cloud Gate dancers create an abstract work of spellbinding beauty and breathtaking technique that stands sublimely on its own.

Lin Hwai-min’s latest creation
Water Stains on the Wall

on international tour

US tour:
Oct 6 - Nov 5, 2011
Chapel Hill: Oct 6-7, 2011
- Memorial Hall
New York: Oct 12-15, 2011
The Next Wave Festival
Ann Arbor: Oct 21-22, 2011
- Power Center for the
Performing Arts
Chicago: Oct 28-29, 2011
- The Harris Theater for Music and Dance/The Dance
Center of Columbia College Chicago
San Antonio: Nov 2, 2011
Lila Cockrell Theatre
Singapore tour:
Jan/Feb, 2012
Huayi Chinese Festival of Arts /Esplanade-Theatres on
the Bay
Europe tour:
May/June, 2012
Movimentos Festwochen der Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany
Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center, Israel
For tour booking information,
please contact Joanna Wang