Zeyun Chen obtained her BA (Hons) degree in Jewellery Design and Related Products at the School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University in 2016 and finished her Master's degree in Jewellery Design & Gold and Silversmithing at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, Belgium. In 2018, her jewellery was on display at Salima Thakker Gallery in Antwerp in 2018, and her work had also been exhibited over the past few years at London Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week as well as Munich Jewellery Week.
StatementOn series: Previously Underground 2018
What is value? This is a question that Zeyun is fascinated by and which forms the core of her Master's project. At first glance, you might not recognise the material she has used to create her objects. Could it be wood? Bone? Or is it a precious material such as coral, shell or ivory - materials that are worth treasuring? Her objects are, in fact, made of potato.
The potato is a very common, hardy vegetable with a very colourful history. Originally from Peru, the potato was first introduced to Europeans by the Spanish and was not thought highly of until food shortages and famines forced the meat-loving citizens of England and France to turn to the food they had reserved for animals. With this, the potato saved lives and it is hard for us now to imagine how valuable the potato was to those suffering from famine. Most people today think potatoes are very ordinary; a common starch, only to be used to soak up the gravy from a delicious meal.
When these vegetables are hand carved and dehydrated, they become sturdy and tough. The sweet potato and taro vegetables come in bright shades of purple and orange, while the common baking potato gives a wonderfully delicate ivory. Zeyun became obsessed with potatoes and has created a collection celebrating its features and complex relationship to value.
On series: Recurzy 2016
Zeyun’s work is designed to explore the relationship between the details of fashion and the use of jewellery to show it. The piece’s inspiration is from vintage cloth, and there are many components of the cloth that we are not sure why they existed before. For example, it is unclear whether an element is functional or ornamental, such as a pocket watch, a keychain latch, epaulettes, and a gun flap. The artist has tried to use metal and a simple line structure to reproduce the functional component of the cloth. However, this does not exist and it is no longer used.
Pockets can be designed differently in order to hold different things. The artist has created a set of pockets but replaceable, fashionable people could choose to wear different pockets every day to match different cloth. Brace clips were popular in the 20th century, and men tended to wear their shirt with these. Therefore, the artist created the brace clip to pleat brace, and it was designed for both men and women. Women can use the piece to make changes to cloth while men can use it as a simple clip to fix the sleeve.
The jewellery that the artist has designed is wearable but the concept is more than functional. The artist is fascinated by the use of silver in jewellery, and she often leaves hallmarks inside pieces to provide an indication of the quality and the name.
Exhibition 15 Oct 2019 - 03 Nov 2019 WERT/voll (VALU/able) in Leipzig.
Exhibition 12 Sep 2019 - 11 Oct 2019 WERT/voll (VALU/able).
Award giving 23 Jun 2019 - 23 Jun 2019 Zeyun Chen. Winner of the Kunstschouw Award 2019.
Exhibition 15 Jun 2019 - 23 Jun 2019 Zeyun Chen at Kunstschouw 2019.
Exhibition 20 Apr 2019 - 02 Jun 2019 Play! Design.
Exhibition 15 Dec 2018 - 25 Feb 2019 New Horizons Young Talents.
Award giving 15 Dec 2018 - 15 Dec 2018 Liqi Chen and Zeyun Chen. Winners at New Horizons Awards 2018.
Exhibition 02 Nov 2018 - 02 Dec 2018 Redefine Waste by Zeyun Chen.
Exhibition 22 Jun 2018 - 26 Aug 2018 Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. MA Degree Show 2018.
Myung UrsoRochester, United States
Lily KanellopoulouAthens, Greece
Fabiana GadanoBuenos Aires, Argentina
Rita BesnyoiBudapest, Hungary
Teresa FarisMadison, United States
Yajing YaoSavannah, United States
Martin GrosmanJablonec nad Nisou, Czech Republic
Anna WatsonBrighton, United Kingdom
Elvira CibottiBuenos Aires, Argentina
Kinga SulejDlutów, Poland
Felicia LiBeijing, China
Joana de Sousa HenriquesLisbon, Portugal
Linda van NiekerkTasmania, Australia
Regine SchwarzerAdelaide, Australia
Elisa Rosales JuegaBuenos Aires, Argentina