Yang Chen

Artist Statement

My work is poetic and quiet, connecting with viewers through a deep sense of emotional resonance. The work often engages space in a surreal and ethereal manner that suspends the sense of time. By paying attention to the image and intensity of expression, my work turning to concentrate on the experience of the audience, and aiming to touch on all of the five senses and cognition. It makes the audience experience art from the perspective of perception and becomes the main focus of postmodern art such as installations art, performances art, video art, etc. It also leads to the theme of my work: time, like creating a labyrinthine, the past permeates in the present, the future response to the past, makes me constantly thinking about what is the reality. By experimenting the potential of material especially ceramics, silkscreen prints, watercolor drawing, painting, readymade, plaster, I am trying to reconciling the eastern cultural background versus experimentation of western art. Freedom, as the primary artistic pursuits of the US; the analysis of the human existence from western philosophy; and the connotation of the Chinese philosophical among Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, provide me with inspirations in a variety of faces.

As an artist I find the uncertainty of ceramics exhilarating; it is essential to understand how the world is constantly in the process of creating itself. Things happen spontaneously; when I look deeply, I realize there is nothing permanent and constant. By nature clay is a very tactile and sensitive material, it remembers touch, and records fleeting memories and emotions. After firing, the creative moment and emotional fragments are frozen in time, which results in a mysterious beauty. This aspect of clay continually changes the way I see myself and how I make art. Clay has so many possibilities, I can sculpt, glaze or paint on the surface, leaving me with endless ideas. The communication between myself and clay reflects the reality and desire of my life. By furthering ceramic material exploration to video projection, the interdisciplinary crossing of mediums, it endows my work with profound emotion. Experimentation is essential for innovation, which spurs one to push the boundaries and investigate different types of surfaces.

My work attempts to reveal the profound paradox of life, the duality of existence regarding life and death. I look into human nature, and material to continue the process of deconstruction and reconstruction, to implement a balance between the inner feelings of myself and the outside world. The balance is when it comes to my creation of work, I am deliberately introduced to a contradiction of nature, culture, and material. My performance and action arts express individuals’ intense emotions and experiences. Using body and memory as main material as well as language and behavior, are always including multi-dimensional absurdity, contradiction, deconstruction and repeating.

-- Yang Chen


Yang Chen is a multimedia artist who work with ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, installations, painting, jewelry. She born in Beijing, China, and received her BFA in Tsinghua University in 2014, then she earned her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2017. Yang’s work shifts between a quite, poetic expression and an aggressive, constricting bramble, connects viewers through a deep emotional resonance. The work often engages space in a surreal and ethereal manner that suspends the sense of time. She approaches each work with an open approach to material selection that at times stretches the traditional expectation of ceramics and the implantation of cross-disciplinary methods which is distinctly contemporary. Her work exhibited in the National Art Museum in China, the RISD Museum, Woodstock Artist Association & Museum, etc. She has been selected in many residency programs, such as Mass MoCA Studio, The Hambidge creative art center, The Clay Arch Museum in Korea.