Dongyan Chen

Multidisciplinary Artist, Singapore

01.04.2019   - 30.06.2019

Dongyan Chen (Singapore) is a Chinese-born, London-based multidisciplinary artist. Previously a painter, Chen currently uses techniques such as sound, installation, photography, video, and drawing in her work.

In her work, Dongyan Chen is interested in the potential of texts, images and sounds to work together in montages as a way of remaking and reconstructing our memory bank, approximating the way our dreams work.

As she states,

My works are primarily concerned with the realm of the subconscious and dreams, as well as the different processes to discover and articulate the hidden messages embedded in them.” she states, “After further research on dreams, psychology, and psychoanalysis, I get my inspirations from mental conditions such as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and Schizophrenia.

Dongyan Chen, Artist’s Statement


Chen values the disruption of linear storytelling her associative way of working allows, imagining the audience as a kind of investigator, each person able to draw their own very individual conclusions.

The artist’s current artistic objective is to construct immersive art experiences that are able to engage audiences on a deep level. Drawn particularly to sound and video, she aims to create an experience “that can lead the audience into a dream-like state, provoking self-revelation.”

Dongyan Chen received a Bachelor of Fine Art (Hons) from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, London, United Kingdom (2018) and a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design from University of the Arts London. Chen’s work has been presented in several exhibitions in London and Shanghai, including Distilled Revery, Untitled Space (Shanghai); Déjà Vu, Freud Museum London (London), and The Flow of Nature, City University of London.

During her three month artist residency at SomoS, between April and June 2019, Chen spent her time collecting visual material and creating new video work, in preparation for an immersive installation. She made use of the support of the SomoS team, its community and resources to develop a further fragment of J’s Dream Universe, her ongoing art project that this time took the shape of an imaginary crime scene. Deepening her preoccupation with subconscious processes, Chen invited the audience to psychically follow her clues, ranging from poetic interventions and light/video installations to references to masters of Automatism, Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs.

The work was presented in the group exhibition Orphaned Memories produced by the SomoS team, and presented to popular acclaim at SomoS exhibition space as part of the official program of the 2019 municipal 48Hours Neukölln Arts Festival.

Besides the informal in-house networking throughout the residency period, Dongyan also took part in several of SomoS’ regular P2P Feedback Sessions, one hosted by Ivetta Sunyoung Kang, and another by Marcia Vaitsman, Ph.D.. She was invited to speak about her work in the Scope Sessions Media Art Salon and Artist Talks series #82, and took part in sessions #83 and #84, and also attended the SomoS’ busy exhibition program. Last but not least, visiting artist/educator/curator Frank J Stockton (Los Angeles) visited Chen’s atelier and critiqued her work during a SomoS Atelier Tour.

Dongyan Chen homepage:

Photos courtesy Cheryl Chan