In Conversation with Jiayun Fan:


Jiayun Fan

Jiayun Fan (b.1997, China) is a multidisciplinary artist who critically reflects and intervenes in society through her creations. With a focus on female identity, family and nature, Jiayun uses her acute attention to detail to expose power dynamics in various structures. She creates art as a means of self-healing while connecting with others. Her personal experiences and inner perceptions serve as a primary source of inspiration, resulting in artwork that is an authentic expression of her feelings. In her works, she reflects on personal struggles in order to shed light on the relationship between the self and society, and to explore the connections between personal troubles and public issues.

︎: @fs_jana1027

Interviewed By Yan Wang, 19/02/2023
YW: What resonates most with you about the concept of our exhibition?

JF: What impressed me most about this exhibition is that it shows a possibility for modern society, where people, animals or plants are equal, in which there is no hierarchy of human society or the limits of the food chain in nature.

In fact, it reminds me of my sculpture called 100 Damaged Trees. When I was young, there was a grove of 20 sequoia trees near my house, however, because one of the trees had a beehive, the residents had to cut down all the trees, and eventually the area was redeveloped for the benefit of human society and seemed to be 'colonised' by humans. I created this sculpture inspired by this event. The sculpture took the form of 100 trees I made in plaster, each with a candle tucked inside, and in the background was a video documenting the grove at the time.

This work is based on the theory called 'Animism' and extends the idea of equality from the human being to the natural, religious and even inanimate objects. This work also influenced my exploration of the relationship between nature and human society significantly.

However, unfortunately, due to shipping problems, it could not be exhibited.

YW: What is your creation style or narrative style?

JF: I hope to be an artist who hides behind the artworks, what really matters is the artwork itself. I don't want my works to be created in a fixed pattern, and I don't want people to appreciate my works with a fixed framework or a preconceived notion. Instead, I wanted to make use of the artwork itself to express its own meaning, and then the audience can understand me through my artworks.

I created these three works based on pre-conceived theories. In my research into public art I understand that the outcome of the artwork is partly determined by the audience, but in creating these works I had pre-conceived concepts, directions or frameworks.

YW: What do you think the connection between nature and female figures?

JF: In our society, the white male invariably occupies a dominant position, and nature in my work is not a law of nature, but a passive victim, a state of unexplored primitiveness unearthed to be exploited by humans due to modern urbanisation. Whether nature or women, in my mind they are non-dominant beings who constantly supply society with labour, natural resources, etc. When the females as a labour resource turn aged, they are eliminated from human society and become exploited and dominated under patriarchal domination, in the same way that the natural resources are taken away and humans even have to release industrial waste back into nature. Thus, in my mind, nature and women are invisible while being exploited as passive parties and victims of human society.

YW: What role does nature play in your work?

JF: In my first work, I used the heat sublimation printing techniques and I needed to use an iron to print each pattern onto the textile, these patterns are photographed and made of trees in nature. Furthermore, printing each pattern is a repetition and constant reproduction of the process of labour, so the process of making my work, which presents the concept of labour, also becomes a part of the work. It reflects the constant exploitation and labour of women in a patriarchal system.

In my photography work, I use dew and water collected from nature to develop the film and the impurities in the water cause various effects on the photographs, which indicate the gradual encroachment of modern pollution on people's lives. This work is a further visualisation of the negative interventions of human society on the natural environment using the technology of the artwork creation process. Black and white photography is an attempt to minimise the impact on the photographic work, as developing colour film involves more variables, and at the same time, black and white film results in a better presentation.