MUNTHE ART MONDAY: SHAOYU CHEN
Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.
My name is Shaoyu Chen, I’m a Taiwanese artist currently based in Switzerland and France. My paintings explore the complexity of the human psyche, taking inspiration from daily interactions and conversations to people’s dreams. My interest in literature and Jungian psychology deeply influences my creative process, as I often approach my subjects through psychological analysis and metaphors.
Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?
I haven’t experienced a direct effect resulting from gender differences so far, but I’m also quite new into my career so maybe I’ve been lucky. I gravitate easily towards other women artists on the Internet, and I’ve been warmly welcomed and supported by many fellow female artists.
Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?
Hilma af Klint’s practice inspires me deeply because she was exploring and understanding the world through her experimental visuals. Her visuals seem to me as processes of knowing, and I admire her serious attitude and determination to devote her artistic life to materializing what seems so unworldly and so much bigger than an individual’s life on Earth.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?
I can’t say for everyone, but for a period of time, I found it difficult accepting my feminine side which is sentimental and a bit melodramatic. I subconsciously perceived feminine pleasure as frivolous and cuteness as people-pleasing. These negative yet common connotations blocked me from expressing myself fully. Until a certain point I realized I’d been suppressing my feminine side, only because I was afraid that women like me who are romantic and lovesick wouldn’t be taken seriously (profession-wise). And now after embracing my feminine and child-like part of me, I care less about whether people take me seriously or not. I don’t even bother being seen as a little girl. I still feel like a little girl from time to time, and that’s okay.
What would you like people to notice in your artwork?
I would like them to sense that no matter how complicated, gloomy, or tricky life situations and human relationships can be, there’s always room for a bit of humor and imagination that could bring us some relief.
At MUNTHE, we find it interesting - and important - to help put focus on female narratives in art. Both to highlight some of all the talented women who are out there, but also to draw attention to the gender imbalance that unfortunately still exists in the art industry.
Each Monday we therefore bring you an interview with a female artist. This week, we meet Taiwanese artist Shaoyu Chen. Learn about Shaoyu's thoughts on being a female artist, her inspirations and role models – and see a few of her pieces here.
Photo: Xinyi Hu