Yu-Chen Chiu: America Seen
Yu-Chen Chiu’s photographs recently came on my radar when she submitted an image to the Photographic Coversations Exhibition. Her project, America Seen, is a visual diary of America leading up to and after the Presidential election. It’s not political; it doesn’t show crowds of protest or celebration, instead the work shows us the every day and the ordinary–it’s as if her work is a reaffirmation that life goes on, and in some ways remains the same. Her perspective is that of the in between state of immigrant and rooted citizen, still curious about the sometimes strange, sometimes humorous, and sometimes beautiful place we call America. Yu-Chen was recently selected for the Critical Mass Top 200 and will have a solo show of America Seen at 182 ArtSpace in Tainan, Taiwan this coming December.
Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, Yu-Chen Chiu is a photographer currently residing in New York City. Primarily, Yu-Chen’s work looks at themes of displacement and longing so often associated with the culturally unfamiliar, through the context of a transcultural environment. Often viewed through an outsider’s prospective, Yu-Chen uses landscape and cityscape as her subject to investigate the subject matter.
Her background includes a B.A. in English Literature from Chinese Culture University and an M.P.S. degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University. She has also pursued a Masters in Communication Studies and Film Productions at NYU and has studied photography at the Cooper Union and International Center of Photography (ICP).
Yu-Chen’s artwork has been exhibited and screened worldwide, such as at the Chelsea Art Museum, the South Street Seaport Museum, and the Sony WonderLab Museum in New York City, USA; Musee du Louvre Paris, France. She is the Gold Award recipient for New Creation Jury Award of VIDEOFORMES in France; the Winner for 2015 EYEEM Photo Awards (The Traveller Category); 2013 B&W Magazine Single Image Winner; two Silvers for Paris PX3; the Finalist of 2017 Athens Photo Festival, 2017 Critical Mass, and Reportage Photo Festival in East Australia, and the honorable mention for IPA (International Photography Awards), Julia Margaret Cameron Award. Her work is also appeared in various online and printed publications, such as Smithsonian.com, ELLE China, VOGUE International, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, and book cover of Paul Auster’s novels
American culture has always had a big influence on me. I still remember being intrigued by the colorful characters of Sesame Street at the age of eight. When I entered adolescence, forced by my family to attend boarding school, Hollywood movies were my only escape from overwhelming schoolwork. Later, as a Literature major in college, American literature helped me understand Western culture. I left my family in Taiwan and immigrated to the United States fifteen years ago to further explore American culture. Since then, I have been photographing the daily life of the country in cross-country road trips as a document of collective memory, and personal diaries. The photo series “America Seen” is the metaphorical representation of the divided emotions of Americans after the 2016 Presidential election. All photos were taken in the United States between 2013 and 2017. These images depict anger, frustration, and rejection, at the same time as people look for hope, identity, and new direction. – Yu-Chen Chiu
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