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Photo Phnom Penh Festival 2023 : Lee Ya-Yen


LEE YA-YEN (Born 1971)

Stranded Time

This series of works primarily features the artist’s photographic creations collected for over a decade. Her motivation is to utilize photography as a medium to transform the emotional connection between herself and her family. When life becomes burdened with unavoidable pressures, the artist instinctively turns to photography, using it as a way to gradually release her inner tensions and emotional fluctuations. The journey of life inevitably involves unforeseen sorrow and worries. Yet expressing pain and regret is not the artist’s intention. Therefore, she employs a poetic narrative approach as an editing technique to recompile all the captured photographs, to convey the realization that every sensation of the ‘past’ was once the ‘present,’ and even the ‘future’ will eventually become the ‘past’. It is through the lessons of life that one gradually comprehends and accepts the concept of “impermanence”. This series of works metaphorically reflects the artist squinting her eyes and gazing back at her own past. Through the retrospective review, she ultimately realizes that impermanence, despite its weighty shadows, also brings forth a variety of tones and layers within life. May every viewer who engages with these images discover their own answers, especially if they find themselves still amidst the darkness of their own lives.”

The artist obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Western Art History from National Taiwan Normal University. She has chosen photography as her medium of artistic creation to convey her profound concern for environmental visual imagery. Employing an intuitive shooting technique combined with movement, her aim is to capture fleeting moments and the immediate status of her subjects, creating a direct and corresponding connection between her inner emotions and the people, objects, and space that surround her. Through constant experimentation with representational techniques in her photographic works, she seeks to explore and experience the transformative process and interpretation of artwork. In recent years, Lee has primarily focused on the art of delicate street photography, often enhanced by the technique of grouping display. Her works have been invited to prestigious exhibitions, including “Yet Another Gaze – A New Horizon for Contemporary Taiwanese Photography” at the Lian Zhou Photo Festival in 2016, “The 2nd Photography Biennale” in Tianshui, and “The Private Times: Beitou Local Image Collecting Project –II” in Taiwan Honggah Museum in 2018. In 2022, she participated in the group exhibition “A Thousand Names of Zeng -Wen River” in Mattauw Earth Triennial. Her series titled “Encountering the Future of the Past” received the Best Portfolio Review Award at the 2020 Taipei International Photo Arts Festival (refer to Photo ONE). Currently, alongside her role as a photography artist, Lee also serves as an art teacher at a municipal high school in Taipei.

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