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News > Alumni Spotlight Series > Joyce Fung (Class of 2015) - Artist

Joyce Fung (Class of 2015) - Artist

Joyce is an artist who is currently specialising in Chinese contemporary art at the Yenching Academy of Peking University. She shares with us how her passion for art started.

Name: Joyce Fung Wai Yun

Graduating year: 2015

Years at GSIS: 2013-2015

University college & degree: Harvard University (BA 2020) + Peking University (MA 2022)

Current city of residence: Beijing, China

 

Introduction

I was born in Hong Kong, raised at St. Paul's Co-Ed and German Swiss, and studied art and philosophy at Harvard University and Berlin, Germany. Now, I am specializing in Chinese contemporary art at the Yenching Academy of Peking University. At the same time, I also co-teach at the School of Architecture and Landscape, make art, and curate exhibitions. This May, my team and I opened an exhibition (www.360zg.cn/beida/) of culture, history, and art in and about Jìng Yuán, the century-old Garden of Serenity at Peking University.

Harvard

Before Harvard, I wanted to be a banker. Now, I am working to become an artist. It is like I am a seed and German Swiss is a bird that took me to the earth of Harvard. There, I found water in the intense energies that rush through everyone and everything; nutrients in the conversations from classes, meals, drinks, and walks; and sunlight in the friends who have enlightened and warmed me through my darkest moments. Through Harvard, I discovered what I can become—and broke my shell and sprouted.

Art + Philosophy

Art grounds me. Philosophy frees me. Through art, I come to notice the world of materials, people, and relations that I am amidst but otherwise would have missed. As I notice this world and build a relationship with it, I make home in it. Through philosophy, I learn to grasp the biases, prejudices, and false binaries that bind me. Grasping, stretching, and perhaps breaking them, I become more open towards the possibilities of how I, others, and the world can be—more open towards, curious about, and in love with.

Studies + Teaching

The more I learned to make art in the U.S., the more I realized how my knowledge is limited to the U.S.. So, I decided to study contemporary art in China. Theoretically, I am researching and writing about the artist Xu Bing, who lives and works in Beijing and New York, and is my hero. Practically, I am also learning through making works, curating exhibitions, visiting artists, and co-teaching with a professor, an architect-curator, and an architect. Our master’s seminar asks: how do our memories live in space, and how do we construct spaces for memories to live in?

Advice for U.S. + China

I am grateful to my American education for its depth, and my Chinese education for its breadth. The former has trained me to analyze and synthesize problems and solutions towards their limits. In contrast, the latter challenges me to work from a pluralism of disciplines and cultures. For example, we studied contemporary architecture through the comparative perspectives of Chinese, Japanese, American, and European cultural and socio-political histories. But this is too general—anyone from German Swiss is welcome to reach out for more specific thoughts!

Plans

I aspire to become an international artist who creates, curates, writes, and teaches around the world. Until I graduate next summer, I shall be writing and teaching as best as I can. Over this fall and winter, I am also working with Sydney University to create their first art exhibition for Chinese overseas and overseas Chinese students, and with an archaeologist student to run a public program on ink-wash. After I graduate, I would love to do artist residencies in China, the U.S., and/or the U.K.—but my favorite is always to do something I cannot even now imagine.

GSIS Moment

The first that comes to mind is economics class with Mr. Leeds. I am laughing now as I remember how we would go through the textbook, and as we work on the problem sets, chat this and that about languages, cultures, and news from around the world. Having then come from a local school, I was not used to this kind of off-textbook learning, this counter-balance between work and play. Looking back, these might have been the first moments I discovered conversation—the living word—as a mode of education.

GSIS Friend

Celeste Chan, who now works in law in Hong Kong, continues to be one of my most important friends. In fact, she was the one who told me about Yenching Academy as she took me around Beijing two summers ago. It was because of her that I fell for this city—because of her that I am here at all. Celeste, if you are reading this, thank you for being the most loving, trusting, and insightful friend that one can have for the past eight years, and I look forward to our friendship over the next eighty.

GSIS + Me

As I write and think about German Swiss now, I can see the sunlight, the trees, the mountains, sometimes in fog, always at peace. It is here that I first discovered the balance between work and rest. Of course, there is always (home)work to be labored through. But leisure is as valued and also structured into school (I loved spirit week!). This is so important. For it is easy to either work or rest, and hard—but healthier—to do both in balance. German Swiss do it well. So, in and through it, in and through us, I first learned and still learn to balance—breathe—and live.

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