The Art of Sun Yunfan

May 17, 2016 2016年5月17日

Sun Yunfan is a multifaceted artist who has the ability to transform mundane subjects into whimsical and unpredictable pieces of art. Yunfan’s creativity isn’t confined to a single medium – her work includes art books, paintings, collages, drawings, installation art, and even films. “For today’s artists, cross-disciplinary practice is becoming the norm,” she says. “I’m not interested in the modernistic endeavor of revealing the ‘limit’ or ‘essence’ of different mediums. I’m interested in finding what can be done with them. I see myself as a cook, and depending on what produce and inspiration I have, I might cook a soup in the morning and then bake a dessert at night. They are different projects.”


Growing up between Shenzhen and Shaanxi, the now Brooklyn-based artist sees her art as having been “fermented” from the physical distance and isolation from China. “I suspect that I probably wouldn’t have become an artist at all had I not come to the States.” Still China clearly has an influence on her – the mountains, rocks, and rivers that appear in her work are credited as being influenced by the landscapes of Shaanxi. But at the same time, she feels like her artwork doesn’t directly reflect Chinese or American culture.


Yunfan believes that artists only create about half of their work, and that the other half of the work happens when the audience comes into contact with the artwork. Her approach to creating is self-described as “playing with a puzzle”, and that the easiest part of the puzzle is the initial inspiration. The challenging part is finding the remaining puzzle pieces and joining it all together to form a cohesive piece of work. “I don’t normally work with any sketches, scripts, or storyboards, but rather prefer the process be open and organic – even chaotic.”


Despite being well-versed with a variety of mediums, Yunfan tells us she is most experienced with painting and compares it to playing an instrument. “The medium yields to the artist’s maximum autonomy. And just the simple act of mixing paint allows the artist to mold her material on the molecular level. All experimentation is very direct and has immediate impact,” she explains to us. “Whatever object or subject is being constructed on canvas, the painter is simply dealing with paint. The color and texture of the paint have their own physicality on canvas, which is not directly traceable to the thing being depicted. The surface of any object on canvas can be considered a universe in itself.”

尽管在各种媒介中游刃有余,云帆告诉我们,她最熟悉的媒介还是油画,并将它比作演奏乐器。“它给予创作者最大程度的自主权。调色这样一个再简单不过的动作,却让画家能够在分子水平上塑造她的材料。在画布上所有的实验都很直接,每一笔的结果是即时的,”她解释道,“无论画布上构建的是什么物体或主体,画家只是在处理颜料。而颜料被运用在画布上所产生的色彩和肌理可以独立于其所描绘的东西, 产生其自身的物理存在。在画布上,任何物体的表面都可以自成一个宇宙。”

Recently, Sun Yunfan has been gravitating towards digital mediums such as video, animation, and music, describing the digital sharing process as “democratic and economical”. She is now even traversing into more unfamiliar territories for a new collaborative project with Dave Liang from The Shanghai Restoration Project and jazz singer Zhang Le. Yunfan wrote lyrics, some melodies, and even dabbled with music production as part of this collaboration. Their new album Life Elsewhere  is slated for release later this year.

近来,云帆将创作中心渐渐移向数字媒体,例如录像、动画和音乐,并将其分享过程描述成“既民主又经济”。在与来自上海复兴方案的Dave Liang以及爵士乐歌手张乐合作的一个新项目中,她甚至逐步进击更多不为熟知的领域。云帆为这次合作写作歌词,创作部分旋律,甚至浅尝音乐制作。这张叫做英文名为Life Elsewhere,中文为“她乡” 的新专辑,将于今年晚些时候正式发布。
Instagram: @eighthday

Instagram: @eighthday

Contributors: Leon Yan, David Yen
Images Courtesy of Sun Yunfan

供稿人: Leon Yan, David Yen