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yiyun@yiyunchen.com
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Yiyun Chen 陳毅贇
Currently lives and works in Cleveland

About
Born and raised in Guangdong, China. Yiyun Chen is a photographer and artist based in Northeast Ohio and an instructor at Kent State University and Cuyahoga Community College.

Yiyun received his MFA in photography and related media from Rochester Institute of Technology. He also received the Theodore Chapman and William A. Reedy Endowment Scholarship in support of his graduate work from RIT. He holds the Bachelor of Arts from Cleveland State University and was invited into the Post Bac program at Cleveland Institute of Art where he continued his studies in photography and printing. Yiyun is currently focusing on his art practice dealing with the exploration of images, moving images, and text.

Since 2010 Yiyun has been in over 20 exhibitions and has received over 15 grants and fellowships for his creative work – most notable in 2016 he received an honorable mention from the International Photography Award in Los Angeles; In 2017 his work was included in an exhibition in Wausau MOCA, also in LoosenArt Gallery at Rome, Italy; In 2019 his photobook and prints are part of the book and zine fair at MOCA Cleveland. And in 2021, Yiyun's portrait photographic work was projected on Daniels & Fisher tower at Denver (Colorado Photographic Arts Center). And gained the best of show in Asian American Art Exhibit of Findlay Art League. He also received the Excellence in Teaching Award in Honor of Ralph M. Besse in the same year.

Statement (I pefer to say notes)
My process for making mostwork comes out of my daily practice of both walking in and photographing unfamiliar places, such as in the streets of small towns and cities, parks, and the interiors of buildings. There is a repetition of motifs throughout the work, visualizing the contradiction between the old memories and my current reality. This practice reminds me of my early experiences living in the United States. Whenever I had days off from work, I would walk around Chinatown, chatting with strangers, looking at the street lamps, mailboxes, and old confusing posters that were stuck to walls of the city. Sometimes I would sit in a parking lot or watch TV shows in the laundry. The practice of photographing and thinking are referenced in the concept of boredom as a function of attention, described in Susan Sontag's book As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964–1980. Sontag points out that “most of the interesting art of our time is boring.” Finding something interesting and enjoying the playfulness in its boredom is my process of shooting. I was drawn to this concept of boredom and attention in photography, using it to create a romantic and poetic communication of my inner meditations. I become most aware of subtle feelings when I am in a state of extreme boredom.

Education
2018    MFA, Photography and Related Media, Rochester Institute of Technology
2015    Post-Bacc, Photography and Video, The Cleveland Institute of Art
2015    BA, Studio Art Photography, Cleveland State University

Exhibitions (Selected)
2021    Asian American Art Exhibit, Findlay Art League, Findlay, OH
2021    Reimagining Hope, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Denver, CO
2021    Vividness, Downtown Gallery, Indiana University Kokomo, Kokomo, IN
2019    Distinguished Alumni Exhibition, The Galleries at CSU, Cleveland, OH
2019    BOUND Art Book + Zine Fair, MOCA Cleveland, Cleveland, OH
2018    Terra Incognita, MFA Thesis Exhibition, William Harris Gallery, Rochester, NY
2017    The 1st Annual 2017 National Juried Art Exhibition, Wausau MOCA, Wausau, WI
2017    LoosenArt Collective, LoosenArt Gallery, Rome, Italy
2017    TURN UP II: The Alma Mater Edition, Popeye Gallery, Cleveland, OH
2017    SPAS Honors Show, William Harris Gallery, Rochester, NY
2016    MFA Work Share, William Harris Gallery, Rochester, NY
2016    CO-LAB, Gallery R, Rochester, NY
2016    The Same But Different, New York Center for Photographic Art, New York, NY
2015    The self(ie) and the other: portraiture, PH21 Gallery, Budapest, Hungary
2014 -- 2015    Merit Scholar Exhibition, The Galleries at CSU, Cleveland, OH
2013 -- 2015    The Student Art Show, The Galleries at CSU, Cleveland, OH
2012 -- 2015    The 21st People’s Art Show, The Galleries at CSU, Cleveland, OH
2014    Western Reserve Photo Competition, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cleveland, OH
2013    Spotlight: Emerging Photographers, Cleveland Print Room, Cleveland, OH
2012    Street Photography, LH Horton Jr Gallery, Stockton, CA

Grants and Fellowships (Selected)
2021     The Excellence in Teaching Award in Honor of Ralph M. Besse, Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, OH
2021     Best of Show, Asian American Art Exhibit, Findlay Art League, Findlay, OH
2020    Emergency Relief Grant, Spaces, Cleveland, OH
2017 -- 2018    William A. Reedy Endowed Scholarship, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
2016 -- 2018    Theodore Chapman Graduate Scholarship, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
2016 -- 2017    Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards, Los Angeles, CA
2016    Third Place Winner, The Same But Different, New York Center for Photographic Art, New York, NY
2015    Full Scholarship, CSU-CIA Post-Bacc Program, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH
2015    Honorable Mention, The 44th Student Art Show, The Galleries at CSU, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH
2015    Honorable Mention, The 35th Annual Best of College Photography, Santa Barbara, CA
2013 -- 2014    Visual Art Merit Scholarship, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH
2011 -- 2015    Radiance Scholarship, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH
2010 -- 2011    Mayor Frank G. Jackson Scholarship, Cleveland City Hall, Cleveland, OH

Collections
Wallace Libraries, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
Mandel Foundation, Cleveland OH
Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH

Artist Talks and Presentations
2019    Artist Talk, Photo II/III, Department of Art and Design, Cleveland State University
2018    Photobook and Installation, Advanced Digital Projects, Photography + Video, Cleveland Institute of Art