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Wen-li Chen

Visual artist and designer Wen-Li Chen explores rural intergenerational relationships in the States in comparison with her experiences from Taiwan as the Lanesboro Arts Artist in Residence from August 2 to August 30 2021.

Lanesboro Arts is proud to present visual artist and designer Wen-Li Chen as she explores rural intergenerational relationships as the Lanesboro Arts Artist in Residence from August 2 to August 30, 2021. Rescheduled from 2020 due to COVID-19, Chen will fulfill this residency in hybrid mode where she will collect materials and on-site research in Lanesboro while conducting interviews and workshops online for pandemic safety purposes.

As a part of reflective personal experience as well as the continuation to develop a series of works that try to spark conversation and reflection towards intergenerational issues through personal /family stories with archival materials, such as documents, photographs or an artifact, Chen’s residency project works with the community from Lanesboro to continue dialogue and conversation about intergenerational issues that they encounter here in the States and compare with her experiences from the East to create a series of work.

Chen will create an artist book and installation derived from Lanesboro as a place and community that explores generational exchange and tension. She will also incorporate her own experiences as a Taiwanese national currently residing in a Western country. Chen will utilize a range of methods, including language, literature, photography, documentation and archival materials to explore “what is lost (unintentional) or omitted (intentional) during generational exchange.” During her residency, she will also host one-one-one interviews with Lanesboro area residents, to gather voices and context for her artist book and installation. Her goal throughout the residency is to connect to and continue a similar dialogue between individual, family, community and generation.

Chen will hold informal conversations with Lanesboro residents in both group and individual meetings that allow the residents to share their stories about the documents or the photograph from their family, all through virtual platforms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In exchange, she will offer free scanned services for residents to make digital archive. At the end of Chen’s residency, Chen will create and share a digital archival blog that contains the Lanesboro community’s stories, scanned artifacts and remade postproduction images made by her, in addition to a handmade book gathering these stories and artifacts in physical form.

As Chen says, “We are living in the era that things change rapidly that almost forget how we got here and how much we missed and how much we passed. By collecting artifacts and stories from the community and retransform them to visualize how an artist understand, see and reflect on personal experiences, history, social economical background to find something in common generally and find ways of connecting with others.” Chen said. “I hope this project can help any community to think further in how they can respond to the environment they are surrounded by in a more sustainable manner. In short, to nurture future generations to settle down and/or develop their unique ways of living based on important, although not essentialist, regional contexts. “

The general public can participate throughout the entire residency in a variety of ways, starting with the Welcome Event on Tuesday, August 3rd. Opportunities for engagement during the residency also include signing up for one-on-one interviews with Chen via Zoom about family photos and stories. The residency will culminate in a Work-in-Progress Capstone event sharing the launch of a blog website chronicling the stories and photos Chen will collect during her residency. All are welcome to join for any of the free (registration required) public events happening via Zoom.

Free Residency Events

  • The Virtual Welcome Party for Wen-Li Chen will take place via Zoom, from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021.
  • Virtual Work-in-Progress Capstone from Wen-Li Chen will take place via Zoom from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., on Thursday, August 26th, 2021
  • On-site installation with publication will take place this fall in the Lanesboro Arts Gallery

Community Interviews

There are workshops/interviews available for people who would like to share the stories behind the documents or photographs from their family. Registration is required at this link.

About Wen-Li Chen

Wen-Li Chen lives and works in St. Paul, Minnesota since 2015 after relocating from Taiwan.

She is an emerging visual artist as well as an experienced independent communication designer who works with artists and art spaces closely in book or print form. Recently commissioned works include The Sheer Of Aboutlessness Of Being (artist book collaborated with Twin Cities-based artists Charles Manson Lume and Andy Sturdevant, 2018) and making another upcoming artist book collaborated with Charles Manson Lume again along with another two female artists/poets from Twin Cities.

Wen-Li has shown her works internationally in the UK, Singapore, USA, Canada, and Taiwan. Recent and forthcoming solo exhibitions and group exhibitions include Belonging at Northfield Arts Guild Gallery (2020), Wisp at FOGSTAND Gallery (2019), To My Unborn Child at Richmond Art Gallery (2018), Untitled 14 at SOO VAC (2018). She recently receives an opportunity of an artist residency program from Lanesboro Arts (August 2020) that is an art organization focus on community-based projects in rural areas. She was a semi-finalist for Jerome Early Career Fellowship (2018-2019) and shortlist for Taipei Biennale in Taiwan (2015-2016).

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