Photo Credit: Courtesy of the artist and Ningbo Museum of Art
Dr Cindy Yuen-Zhe Chen lives and works in Sydney on unceded Darramuragal and Gadigal lands. Her artistic practice examines how embodied listening and sounding can extend experimental drawing as a multi-sensory, emplaced process. Through interactions with the sounds, surfaces, people and atmospheric contingencies of places, Chen develops drawing, listening and sounding as interconnected practices that engender connections and enact distinct senses of places. As a part of these processes, she critically examines how her context as a female artist of migrant Malaysian-Chinese heritage shapes her relationships within Australia and internationally.
Chen was recently selected as a finalist for the 2021-22 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship. As a recipient of the University Postgraduate Award, Chen completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Art, Design and Media at the University of New South Wales Art and Design in 2020. In 2019, Chen was selected to present her work at a drawing research conference at Loughborough University in England. She was then invited to present her research at Ningbo University in conjunction with a solo exhibition and residency at Ningbo Museum of Art in China in 2018. In 2017, her work was selected by a panel of international and Chinese curators for inclusion in Art Nova 100, an exhibition of the top one hundred global Chinese artists under the age of thirty, at Today Art Museum in Beijing. She has undertaken residencies at Akiyoshidai International Art Village in Japan, Hill End in Australia and was recently a resident studio artist at Parramatta Artists’ Studio in 2020-21.
Dr Cindy Yuen-Zhe Chen is represented by Art Atrium.
"浪⽯響: 山, 江, 竹子 - Sounding Langshi: Mountain, River, Bamboo." Installation view at AD Space, Sydney, Australia, 2020. Paper, Li River water, undetermined dematiaceous hyphomycetes, undetermined lichens, soil particles, ink, sound feedback recording, 2018. Dimensions "Binaural Sound Study - Bamboo," Chinese and Japanese ink on Arches watercolour paper, W75 x H98cm, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist.
"Binaural Sound Study - Fig Tree Cove," Japanese and acrylic ink on Arches watercolour paper, W75 x H98cm, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist.
"Fluvial Dynamics: Rain and Foraging Birds," 2020, dimensions variable: approx. H125 x W145 x D80cm, ink on Wenzhou paper. Image courtesy of the artist.
"Fluvial Dynamics: Rain, Wind, People," 2020, dimensions variable: approx. H125 x W145 x D80cm, ink on Wenzhou paper. Image courtesy of the artist.
“Sonic Ink Vibrations - Tidal 4," 19 x 19cm, 2021, ink on Wenzhou paper. Image courtesy of the artist.
Fluvial Dynamics and Resonant Flows featured in Air Water Love | Group Exhibition curated by Nicholas Tsoutas | China Cultural Centre, Sydney, Australia
Two interlaced notions of fluidity weave through this collection of works: the watery cycles of rivers, rain and harbours, and the fluid dynamism of places that are constantly evolving. This understanding emerged as I responded to the contingent vitality of Middle Harbour, Lane Cove River and Parramatta River through the seasons of winter, spring and summer in 2020, a year shaped by volatility. The drawings, sound and video installation of Fluvial Dynamics and Resonant Flows articulate my body’s interaction with the atmospheric, sonic and social occurrences that enliven these littoral spaces. These works explore the interdependent relationships that exist between our bodies, places and water, and draw attention to the meaningful connections that we create through our actions.
My expanded approach to drawing can be seen in three paper Möbius loops of Fluvial Dynamics which mediated my engagements with the rain, wind, sounds, animals and people of Parramatta River, Lane Cove River and Middle Harbour. These looped paper scrolls are imbued with ink that have been diffused by rain; the paper shaped by actions of walking, sitting, listening and drawing along the pathways, riverbank and shoreline. The interconnected processes of drawing, listening and sounding that underpin these works emphasise our entanglement within places as they unfold.
Resonant Flows: Parramatta River, Lane Cove River, Middle Harbour is an installation of sound and video that articulates moments of embodied listening at each of these places. In the Sound Feedback Drawing compositions, the sounds of people, building construction, birds, waves and insects were recorded and reflected off the curved hollows of sandstone rocks, tidal pools and stairwells. My gestural responses 'caught' these sounds to generate high and low frequency sound feedback using microphones and speakers, in a process that allowed me to 'draw' with the pitch, timbre and volume of sound unfolding through air. The instability of handheld video footage in the three channel video speaks of the physical strain of crouching low to listen closely to patterns of flowing water. Situating my body within the landscape and acknowledging the partiality of this position enables me to reflect upon the impact of my presence upon these places.