Headlands Center for the Arts

Rene Yung

california | interdisciplinary
Affiliate Program 2018
Affiliate Program 1990
Affiliate Program 1989

Artist Statement

At heart my work is about belonging: to self, place, community, culture, time. My immigrant roots shape my being and way of seeing, and my art-making is a constant navigation of the complexities of the hybrid space, and a many-stranded voicing from its interstices.

My work melds my long steeping in installation, public and socially-engaged art, into a transdisciplinary practice that fluidly crosses boundaries in multiplatform articulations. An ongoing body of work excavates the overlooked history and experiences of the Chinese in the American West, through research, public engagement, and cultural productions, and the creation of the nonprofit organization Chinese Whispers. I am also developing a framework for deep-mapping the meaning of place through integrated investigations that reconnect land and water to their people, memories, and natural and built environments, threading the historical with the contemporary, the socio-political with the poetic, and lived experiences with ideas, toward social change in this time of heightened unbelongings.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands, I will continue to develop Written on Water, a transdisciplinary meditation on the intersecting displacements of people and land around San Francisco Bay: the erasure of the historical Chinese immigrants’ shrimp fishery in the Bay, loss of Bay edge-lands where shrimping took place, and dispossession of the immigrant experience as a contemporary continuum. I will develop prototypes for a sculptural library of place-based, mixed media “books” with text, imagery and artifacts, and work on literary nonfiction writings that juxtapose my research with my own experience as an immigrant. This work is a continuation of my multiplatform project Bay Chronicles, about Chinese shrimping history on the Bay.

As a counterpart to this research-based work, I will also develop a drawing series that engages gesture and mark-making as wayfinding to locate self in space/place, and to reflect on the flux and movement of the immigrant experience, with water as an existential matrix.

Selected Works

Personal Website