Livien Yin is a painter and sculptor based in New York City. Her current practice examines the histories of Chinese migration through figurative painting. Yin’s fictional portraits are inspired by the Chinese-born “paper sons and daughters” who entered the United States by obtaining forged documents that stated they were children of American citizens. Her paintings visualize the possibilities of what “paper” identities could have looked like. Yin repurposes photographic imagery and written accounts made during the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882-1943) in order to paint a speculative archive. By portraying sensual subjects in vignettes of leisure, desire and doubt, Yin’s paintings imagine what thriving can look like in the present.
Yin received a BA in Studio Art from Reed College and an MFA from Stanford University. She has exhibited her work at Friends Indeed Gallery, San Francisco; Jeffrey Deitch, New York City; Ben Brown Fine Arts, Hong Kong; Cantor Arts Center, Stanford, and elsewhere. Yin has been awarded a 2021 Nō Studios Visual Art Grant, 2019-2020 Graduate Fellowship at Headlands Center for the Arts and the 2019 American Austrian Foundation/Seebacher Prize for Fine Arts. She has completed artist residencies at Marble House Project, This Will Take Time, and the Wormfarm Institute. Yin recently attended Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2022.