Born in 1990, Jen Yu is an international fine artist whose practice is based in New York. After working and establishing an informal studio class in Hamburg, Germany, as a principle guest artist and fellow at Künstler zu Gast in Harburg e.V., Yu went on to receive her MFA at Glasgow School of Art.
Yu’s work examines temporality by the removal of information, sometimes leaving her images to decay. She addresses the intersection between private memory and public memory, often comparing her childhood trivialities and misconceptions of violence and loss to the overwhelmingly more serious nature of the Nanjing Massacre, an undercurrent in her family history.
Jen Yu works in a reductive process which includes methods such as sanding, scratching, cutting, and erasing. Her newer work focuses on manufacturing trauma from the recycling of past events, using the spaces she’s given to move her work beyond the rhetoric of the image. Drawn onto large, semi-translucent rice paper and then wheat-pasted, Yu treats her images as palimpsests. Her drawings become remnants of past locations and aim to mediate a distance— each time moulding itself to a new surface, being redrawn upon, removed, and inheriting a new space.
Her work confronts the unreliability of memory and seeks to transform objects and spaces into temporary monuments.