Yanyun Chen

Born 1986
Hometown Singapore
Lives and works Singapore

About the artist
Dr. Yanyun Chen (Singapore) is a visual artist, researcher, and lecturer.

She runs a drawing, new media and installation practice. Her works delve into the aesthetic, cultural and technological inheritances on one’s body, unravelling fictional and philosophical notions of embodiment, and are grounded in the physicality of human and botanical forms.

She builds two trains of thought throughout her artistic works: on bodies and on constructs: in the former, she researches cultural wounds, dowry traditions, hereditary scars, philosophies of nudities, and etymology, and investigates stories as a skin which we wear and conditions of intergenerational pain; in the latter, she questions the disassociating conditions of representing and memorializing the artifice in artistic endeavours as opposed to being present to the experience of witnessing withering and death of what is outside and within one’s self.

She received the prestigious National Arts Council Young Artist Award (2020), Singapore’s highest award for young arts practitioners, aged 35 and below. Her works were also awarded the Prague International Indie Film Festival Q3 Best Animation Award (2020), ArtOutreach IMPART Visual Artist Award (2019), National Youth Film Awards Best Art Direction Award (2019), Singapore Art Museum President’s Young Talents People’s Choice Award (2018), Japan Media Arts Festival (2012) and Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal Award (2009). She is listed on Tatler’s Asia’s Most Influential: The Culture List (2021).

Her recent works include Gently Savage (2022), Furious Fires (2020), False Truths (2020), Women in Rage (2019), Stories of a woman and her dowry (2019), The scars that write us (2018), Skinning Nudity (2018) and Flower Flights (2018). Outside of Singapore, her works have been exhibited internationally, including Buenos Aires, South Korea, Canada, USA, Belarus, The Netherlands and Czech Republic.

Her areas of research include Southeast Asian contemporary arts, animation studies, and visual art pedagogies.

Yanyun graduated from the European Graduate School Philosophy, Art, and Critical Thought PhD programme (2018), its Communications MA programme (2014), and Nanyang Technological University School of Art Design and Media Digital Animation programme (2009).

She is the Andreas Teoh Contemporary Asian Art Fellow (2021-2023), Georgette Chen Fellow (2020-2022) and Lecturer for the Humanities division of Yale-NUS College in Singapore. Outside of academia, she is the founder of illustration and animation studio Piplatchka, and a partner of publishing house Delere Press LLP.

Personal connections
Flower Flights solo exhibition, 2018-2019, Art Porters Gallery, Singapore
S.E.A Focus 2020: False Truths catalogue
S.E.A Focus 2020: False Truths walk-through

European Graduate School, Saas Fee, Switzerland
PhD with Summa cum Laude 2014-2018
Skinning Nudity: a reading of nudities in arts and law in the Singapore context.
Thesis Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Hubertus von Amelunxen (European Graduate School)
Co-supervisor: Dr. Jeremy Fernando (Tembusu College, National University of Singapore)
Defence committee: Prof. Dr. Hubertus von Amelunxen, Prof. Dr. Siegfried Zielinksi, Dr. Jeremy Fernando.

Master of Arts in Communications (Distinction) 2012-2014
Tracing Etymology: Origins and Time; Monsters and Demons
Thesis Supervisors:  Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schirmacher (European Graduate School) and
Dr. Jeremy Fernando (Tembusu College, National University of Singapore)

The Florence Academy of Art, Mōlndal, Sweden
Intensive Drawing Course 2013
Awarded the Talent Assistance and Training Allowance Grant from National Art Council Singapore.

Puppets in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
Marionette Carving and Puppets for animated film workshops June-August 2009
Awarded the National Youth Council Grant 2009

School of Art, Design, and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Digital Animation (1st class honours) 2005-2009
Awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal Award 2009
Awarded the Nanyang Scholarship 2005-2009

The Animation Workshop, Viborg, Denmark
3d Character Animation Workshop January-June 2008
The Drawing Academy
Awarded the MDA Capabilities Development Grant 2008

National Junior College, Singapore
Awarded the MOE Art Elective Programme Scholarship 2003-2004
Awarded the Sapphire Scholars Programme 2003-2004

2022 – Beyond the Curve International Film Festival “Best VR + 360 Film” for in times like these…, France
2020 – National Arts Council Young Artist Award, Singapore
2020 – Prague International Indie Film Festival Q3 “Best Animation Short” for Women in Rage, Czech Republic
2019 – National Youth Film Awards “Best Art Direction” for Automatonomy, Singapore
2019 – ArtOutreach IMPART “Visual Artist Award” Winner, Singapore
2018 – President’s Young Talents “People’s Choice Award” for The scars that write us, Singapore
2012 – Japan Media Arts Festival “Jury Selection Award” for Eco-awareness flash game Jimmyfish, Japan

Solo exhibitions

2021 – Thailand Biennale, Korat 2021, Thailand
2020 – Biennale de L’Image en Mouvement BIM 2020, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2020 – False Truths, S.E.A. Focus, Singapore Art Week 2020, Singapore
2019 – Stories of a woman and her dowry, Grey Projects, Singapore
2019 – Variations and Variables, National University of Singapore Arts Festival, Singapore
2018 – The scars that write us, Presidents Young Talents 2018, Singapore Art Museum 8Q, Singapore
2018 – Flower Flights, Art Porters, Singapore
2016 – 追花 Chasing Flowers, NUSS, Singapore

Group exhibitions & film festivals
2022- In times like these…, Singapore
2022 – In times like these…, FIVARS Festival of International Virtual and Augmented Reality Stories, Canada
2022 – Desirable Body, Hanover Project, University of Central Lancashire, UK
2022 – While She Quivers, Objectifs, Singapore.
2022 – In times like these…, Beyond the Curve International Film Festival, Paris, France
2022 – In times like these…, Berlin Lift-Off Film Festival Online Selection, Berlin, Germany
2021 – Hindsight is 20/20, 2021 International Short Film Festival Canton, Guangzhou, China
2021 – Hindsight is 20/20, Semi-Finalist at AXD Film Festival, Alexandroupolis, Greece
2021 – Grayscale!, Art Porters Gallery, Singapore
2021 – Art Fair Philippines, Philippines
2021 – Mirazur x The Mandala Club, Singapore
2021 – Women in Rage, Moscow Indie Film Festival 2021, Russia
2021 – The Body as a Dream, Art Agenda S.E.A (AASEA), Singapore Art Week 2021, Singapore
2021 – Open to Interpretation, Asian Art Institutum, Singapore Art Week 2021, Singapore
2020 – Biome, Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore
2020 – The thought visits you, Asia Now: Paris Asia Art Fair 2020 Online on Ocula, France
2020 – Streets of Hope, National Arts Council, Singapore
2020 – She/Her, Appetite by Restaurant Nouri, Singapore
2020 – Women in Rage, Los Angeles Animation Festival 2020, USA
2020 – Women in Rage, Montreal International Animation Film Festival 2020 Animaze, Canada
2020 – Women in Rage, Prague International Indie Film Festival, Czech Republic
2020 – Women in Rage, Leiden Shorts (Leiden International Short Film Experience), Netherlands
2020 – Clouds: The 6th International Exhibition on New Media Art 2020, CICA Museum, South Korea
2020 – Nefiltravanae Kino Short Movie Club Film Festival “Unfiltered Cinema”, Minsk, Belarus
2019 – FICTION NON FICTION – Reassembling 24 frames of reality through non-narrative film works, Cultural Affairs Bureau, Macau
2019 – 2219: Futures Imagined, Art Science Museum, Singapore
2019 – Remedy for Rage, Objectifs, Singapore
2019 – Singapore Utopia, ChanHori Contemporary, Singapore
2019 – Raw Forms, Coda Culture, Singapore
2018 – Still, Singapore Life, Art Seasons Gallery, Singapore
2018 – Auguries of Modern InnocenceThe Arts House, Singapore
2016 – Untapped Emerging, Shophouse 5, Visual Arts Development Association, Singapore
2016 – Spirit of Place, (part of Liao Jiekai’s The Drawing Room), Jendela Visual Arts Space, Singapore
2016 – What! Another Exhibition? (collaboration with Singapore Horn Trio’s Johannes Brahm Horn Trio op. 40), Esplanade Recital Studio, Singapore
2015 – Studying Life, Artistry, Singapore
2015 – Noise Singapore 2015 Festival Exhibition, Singapore
2015 – Fresh Takes, ChanHampe Gallery, Singapore
2015 – The Mill Destruction & Rebirth, The Mill, Singapore
2014 – Floral Magic x On Pedder, Singapore
2014 – Noise Singapore 2014 Festival Exhibition, Singapore

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