The act of move metaphorizes the state of exiling, making the nostalgia of people who travel far away from home even stronger. Therefore, in his every studio that used to be treated as “home”, there was always small objects meticulously collected by Chen Yujun from his homeland by the Mulan River. They seem to be the evidence of local customs that can temporarily soothe his homesickness and the token of the family gene which will constantly awaken his mission.
As Mulan River, the mother river who nurtures the local civilization, spontaneously becomes the main thread of Chen’s creation, his reflection on “home” and inclusiveness of “family” also achieve new milestones progressively, from a familial and clannish narrative to a broader inquiry into homeland and human community. Humans who seek the way out the destiny of nomadism must have built their visions into “homes” after realizing that genes are their own mission. No matter how dangerous the journey back to “home” is, it is the price or practice people who miss their home are willing to pay or experience.
Home is sometimes as reachable as close at hand, sometimes as far as the horizon of heaven. Even if we are to leave home someday, it will always flow in the blood. No matter how many generations it is passed down, the “home” will eternally be preserved as the primordial color, just as Chen’s paintings suggest, that unfolds the canvas of one’s life.
Because of the practical needs and sincere yearning for “home”, Chen Yujun designed and lived in these studios, as well as created all the works with the theme of Mulan River. Thanks to these unique “homes” and outstanding achievements, we have the chance to appreciate a down-to-earth artist with infinite potential.
Chen Yujun (b. 1976, Putian, Fujian) graduated from the Integrated Art Department at China Academy of Art in 1999. From 1999 to 2014, he has taught at the Integrated Art and the Oil Painting Departments at China Academy. He is currently living and working in Shanghai.
As a representative artist born in the ‘Post-Cultural Revolution’ period, Chen Yujun has experienced the historical stage when Chinese society underwent a multitude of radical transformations. Through meticulous reflection and exploration, the relationship between individual characteristics and the natural and cultural environment has increasingly become the driving force of Chen’s creations. Themed from the Mulan River in his hometown to the Mother River that nurtures Asia and the whole world, his imagination and brushstrokes implicitly follow the footsteps of overseas Chinese who left their hometowns in the early days. Chen intends to ask for the way out of self-redemption and the direction of human nomadism towards a further future.
Known for the complex applications of mixed media with rich implications of humanitarianism embedded in his works, Chen Yujun is being valued by curators and collectors around the world. Being widely collected, his works are exhibited in art museums, foundations and galleries worldwide.
Recent solo exhibitions include “The Endogenous Scenery” (ZiWU Beijing, Beijing, 2021), “Continuity and Variation” (Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, 2021), “Sheng Zhang — Solo Exhibition of Chen Yujun” (Long Museum West Bund, Shanghai, 2021), “Each Single Self” (Arario Gallery, Seoul, 2020), “Chen Yujun” (Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2019), “Caravan of Wanderer, Worshiper, Lover of Living” (Rén Space, Shanghai, 2019), “Reflection from the Golden Dome” (Rén Space, Shanghai, 2018), “The River Never Remembers” (Arario Gallery & BANK, Shanghai, 2017), “The Second Door” (James Cohen Gallery, Shanghai, 2015), “Transitional Room” (Boers-Li Gallery, Beijing, 2012), “The Empty Room” (Boers-Li Gallery, Beijing, 2010), etc. Joint solo exhibitions with Chen Yufan include “Mulan River – Voyage” (A+ Contemporary, Taipei, 2018), “Mulan River – Cuò” (Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Petach Tikva, 2017), “White” (Tang Contemporary Art, Hong Kong, 2016), “Space Graphy No.1” (AYE Gallery, Beijing, 2014), “Mulan River – Unsettled” (Zhong Gallery, Berlin, 2012), “Mulan River” (Boers-Li Gallery, Beijing, 2011), etc.
Chen Yujun has been on show at Long Museum (Shanghai, 2020/2014), Beijing Minsheng Art Museum (Beijing, 2019/2017/2015), Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts (Taipei, 2018), OCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shanghai (Shanghai, 2017), Today Art Museum (Beijing, 2016), Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art (Guangzhou, 2015), Si Shang Art Museum (Beijing, 2015), Guan Shanyue Art Museum (Shenzhen, 2013), Groninger Museum (Groninger, 2013), Galeri Nasional Indonesia (Jakarta, 2013), Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing, 2013), Veneto Institute of Sciences, Letters and Arts (Venice, 2012), Times Art Museum (Beijing, 2010), etc. He has also participated the 2nd Anren Biennale (2019), the 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale (2014), the 2nd Chengdu Biennale (2005), etc.
Public collections include Arario Museum (Seoul), Brooklyn Museum (New York), DSL Collection (Paris), Guangdong Museum of Art (Guangzhou), He Art Museum (Foshan), He Xiangning Art Museum (Shenzhen), Long Museum (Shanghai), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), M+ Sigg Collection (Hong Kong), TANK Shanghai (Shanghai), White Rabbit Collection / White Rabbit Gallery (Sydney), Yuz Museum (Shanghai), etc.