Jiayun Chen: MFA Art Thesis Exhibition

Opening reception: Mar 24, 6pm
Exhibition on view: Mar 25 - Apr 1
USC Roski Graduate Gallery



USC Roski School Graduate Building
1262 Palmetto Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013


About the Exhibition:

This exhibition focuses on two cultural phenomenons: mistranslated Chinese character tattoos on western bodies and poorly translated English T-shirts in Asia. Jiayun Chen calls this, “the poetics of failure". It all started with the artist’s fascination with cringe-worthy Chinese tattoo images on the internet. The Chinese characters are mostly misspelled or mistranslated. This thesis exhibition highlights those failures in translation between languages and symbols. Using ceramics, installation, and drawings to consider translation as a central action that flirts, bonds, and reflects the relationship between cultures, Jiayun highlights the slippage that occurs and echoes the complex exchange between cultures. The work considers paradoxical gestures while posing questions about cultural exchange/appropriation, through humor, wit and the poetic.


About the Artist:

Jiayun Chen grew up in Wenzhou, China, though she is now living in Los Angeles, California. She earned her BFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2020 and is currently a Master of Fine Arts candidate at USC Roski School of Art and Design. Her art practice is characterized by slow-processes by engaging with drawing, trophy-making, painting, sculptures, and installation-making. She is currently interested in language—and in particular, how language functions as a communication tool and the slippages that occur inevitably. Most recently, she participated in Open Studios at Roski School of Art and Design for FRIEZE art fair (2022). She also co-organized a collaborative exhibition project in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, Reunion / 同乡会 / 同鄉會 / Tong Xiang a / 동창회 (2021). She will have her work featured in an upcoming exhibition curated by Nahui Garcia at FOCA Exhibition Space, Chinatown in January 2023.