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Sylvan Chan: Good Game @ Rivington

  • Parasol Projects @ Rivington 2 Rivington Street New York, NY, 10002 United States (map)

Solo Exhibition “Good Game” by Sylvan Chan

Sylvan Shan was born in Beijing, China, 1994. In 2016, She graduated from Pratt Institute with a Bachelor Degree in Fashion Design. Shortly after graduation she decided to move into documentary art, which has allowed her to work with a variety of mediums including photography, film, installation, fashion, performance, etc. The theme of her work is often related to the observation of human psychologies and the search for meanings of being.

The exhibition is an integration of the artist’s works from different time periods, mostly done without the intention of creating art.

“Guan Shi Yin”, a film photography series was named after the Chinese name of Bodhisattva Avalokitasvara, meaning “to observe all beings in the world”. In this series, most of the photographs were taken in the summer of 2015, when Sylvan went to the city of Shenzhen by herself to intern at a clothing company. Ever since she accidentally entered the urban village in Gangxia area and saw the amazing night scenes, she spent many nights wandering around other urban villages taking photos of people’s living environment and activities.

Another photo series “Photos” and a film “Videos” both came from the first cell phone Sylvan had which she used during high school. None of the works was intended to become an art piece. This lack of aesthetic effort and the notion of any person taking photos however have become an important quality of her work. Since young she had always felt the need to document, otherwise it somehow made her feel sad when things had to pass by. Looking through her old cell phone, she was surprised how much she had documented. It was also unbelievable how different she was a few years ago. “Looking at these documentations makes me realize that the differences and even conflicts between people are actually not too hard to understand. If you observe closely, almost all of our actions come from what we need at the very moment, which could be different from what other people need at the same moment, and from what ourselves need at another moment. Like I am not afraid to show my old ugly pictures anymore because my intention is different now. Thank God though I am also a little better looking now.”

All around the three works is an installation piece she called “Got Empty Seats Taking that 120 Bus with Gramma, So Happy”. Just like the title, all the objects in the installation are random life details Sylvan has been collecting since working on her thesis collection at Pratt, the theme of which was “everyday life”. There is no delicate dessert or champagne served at the opening, but homemade sweet drinks and cheap but delicious Guangdong dim sum. Together with other details including the smell of incense in the room, these settings aim at resembling scenarios in real life to the audience a chance to observe what kind of effects these “insignificant” details in life actually have as they subtly bring up past memories.

2 Rivington St
March 24-27 / 
Opening: March 24 / 6-9pm