Sun Yanchu experiments with darkroom chemicals and photographic papers in the tradition of Chinese ink painting in his ongoing body of work “Developer Paintings” 2013-19. An accomplished darkroom printer as well as painter, Sun Yanchu works with brush and intuition to control the chemicals, temperature, light exposure and developing process to bring out the unique effects found in his developer paintings. The artist says the process of this creation and the results after development - the layers of black ink and color gradation effect - very much resemble traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy, which the artist has been exposed to since childhood. Sun Yanchu’s ‘Developer Painting’ works are a mixture of his passion for both traditional Chinese painting and the modern western invention of photography.
Sun Yanchu takes on the photographic medium as the raw material for experimenting with the image and endlessly drawing out the web of his obsessions as an artist. In the series Ficciones, Sun Yanchu collects anonymous photographs from the 1970s and 80s in flea markets around China and subjects them to experiments of all kinds, mixing water color, acrylic, gold leaf, even soy sauce, distorting and embellishing the original content from these forgotten photographs and creating alternate narratives. Often small in size, these images become a pretext for a new story or a tale that the artist develops beyond the restricted frame of the original subjects, creating doubly fictional landscapes with paintbrush or pen enhanced beyond their original context. These miniature fictions are unique pieces that distinguish Sun's work from the current modes of production.
Sun’s limited edition Ficciones monograph published by JZ Press received the first Gucang Dummy Book Award in 2015 selected by Martin Parr.
Sun Yanchu was born in 1978 in Henan Province. He has been awarded several international art prices, including, most recently, the 2017 Jimei x Arles Discovery Award. Other awards include the MIO Photo (Morumura Yasumasa) Special Award in 2010, the Lianzhou International Photo Festival New Photography Award in 2011, and the Jinan International Photo Biennale Best Photographer Award in 2012. He lives and works in Zhengzhou, China. In June 2018 he was invited to do a collaborative project and exhibition at the Musée de l’Elysée using found and family photographs from local participants and creating a series of Ficciones works with European photographs.