b. 1955 in Fushun, Liaoning province, lives and works in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province


Chen Haiyan, over the past thirty years, has used her artistic practice to integrate the ephemeral, deeply private, fantastical world of her dreams within the fabric of contemporary China's rapidly-changing social reality by recording and publicly disseminating her dream reality through the dual traditional media of carved woodblock prints and brush and ink painting. Uniting traditional Chinese elite aesthetics with a rough vernacular quality, style and medium work seamlessly together as Chen Haiyan renders her subject matter — dream images from her unconscious — with an unparalleled sense of emotional directness. Situating Chen's work between dream and reality, the critic Amjad Majid writes that "while in Kafka's work the fantastic is employed to address the quotidian horror of everyday life, in Chen Haiyan's work it is used to shed light on its quotidian wonder."


After growing up in China's industrial northeast, Chen Haiyan graduated in 1984 from the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now the National Academy of Fine Arts) in Hangzhou where she had studied woodblock printmaking. Quickly, she began to exhibit abroad and was included inBeyond the Open Door (1989) at the Pacific Asia Museum in Southern California, the first exhibition of contemporary Chinese art in North America and in Modern Chinese Painting (1989) at Marlborough Fine Art in the UK. She was also an important participant in the seminalChina/Avant-garde exhibition held at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing (1989). As a recognized member of the China Avant-garde movement, Chen participated in international shows at the Pacific Asian Museum (1991), the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (1992), and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (1993) that first documented the movement in the West. Chen participated in prominent post-1989 shows at Marlborough Fine Art (1994), Räume der Hessstraße, Munich (1996), the Portland Museum of Art, Oregon (1996), the British Museum, London (1996), and the Art Institute of Vancouver, Canada (1998). Over the last decade, Chen has begun to attract deeper attention in her native China with two exhibitions at China National Academy of Art, Hangzhou (2003 and 2011), the Shanghai Art Museum (2004), where she participated in The Shanghai Biennale, the Chongqing Art Museum and Sichuan Fine Arts Institute Art Museum, Sichuan (2007), the National Art Museum of China, Beijing (2010), where she participated in The Fourth Beijing International Art Biennale, the Zhejiang Art Museum, Hangzhou (2011), and the Lingnan Fine Arts Museum, Shenzhen (2011).


In addition to her accomplishments as a woodcut printer, Chen is also widely recognized as one of the most important women artists in contemporary China. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Chen Haiyan featured in exhibitions that directly concerned her identity as a woman including group shows at Reed College, Oregon (1996), Aicharch, Germany (1997), Tehran, Iran (1997), the exhibitions Die Hälfte des Himmels: Chinesische Künstlerinnen (1998) at the Frauen Museum, Bonn, and more recently Vision Féminine (2007) at the Fondaco dell'Arte in Venice. In 2014, Chen was featured in the China Focus Section of The Armory Show, New York, curated by Phil Tinari of the Ullens Center, and enthusiastically reviewed by Ken Johnson from the New York Times who singled out Chen's "big, beautiful, expressionistic painting on paper of giant caterpillars on broad leaves." (New York Times, March 6, 2014).


Chen Haiyan had her opening exhibition at Ink Studio in September of 2013 where she showed a selection of her most important woodcut prints from the middle 1980s, her most recent series of large-scale woodcut prints, and a selection of her monumental brushing paintings in traditional ink and acrylic on paper. She says, "My works entail transforming rice paper into wood with the help of the Chinese brush. I first use an expansive freehand style of painting on the wooden block and later when I am carving I more carefully actualize the picture that is in my heart and give shape to it."


Chen is currently a senior professor in the Print Department of the National Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou. Chen is featured in the documentary film, The Enduring Passion for Ink, and her work is the subject of the forthcoming scholarly monograph Carving the Unconscious, edited by Dr. Britta Erickson and distributed in the United States by D.A.P. Her works can be found amongst others in the collections of the British Museum in London, the Museum of Sydney, the Portland Museum of Art, the Pacific Asia Museum in Southern California, the White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney, the Shanghai Art Museum, the Tianjin Art Museum, the Lingnan Fine Arts Museum in Shenzhen, the Guangdong Museum of Art and the National Art Museum of China in Beijing.




Born in Fushun, Liaoning, China









BA Department of Printmaking, Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art), Hangzhou








Department of Printmaking, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou










Lu Xun Engraving Award, granted by the Qingdao Engraving Artists Association, Qingdao, China







Pave the Road (copperplate), silver award, Art Exhibition in Zhejiang Province Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China, Hangzhou, China

Dream–Butterfly (copperplate), bronze award, The 12thNational Chinese Printing Works Display, Shenzhen, China




Love is Red (copperplate), excellence award, National Fine Arts Exhibition of Three Types of Printing, Nanjing, China




Horizon (copperplate), Third Class Prize, Exhibition of the Works of Fine Arts by the Progressive Chinese Youth, Beijing, China








 Worksby Chen Haiyan, Hanyang Art Center, Hangzhou, China


Yi Jue Dao Ren: Works by Chen Haiyan, Department of Foundational Education, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China



Lignin Gold Sound:Chen Haiyan Art Exhibition, Fujian Art Museum, Fuzhou, China






In Every Flower a World: An Exhibition of Chen Haiyan’s Prints, Art Gallery No. 2, Hangzhou, China

Ink Studio at the Armory Show 2014: Works by Chen Haiyan, Pier 94: The Armory Show 2014, New York, USA



Chen Haiyan: Carving the Unconscious, Ink Studio, Beijing, China



A Week's Dreams, Artone Center, Hangzhou, China



Works by Chen Haiyan, 798 Art District, Beijing, China




Chagall & Chagall: The Artworks of Chen Haiyan, Asia Museum, DaeJeon City, South Korea




Exhibition of Woodblock Prints by Chen Haiyan, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA




Contemporary Prints by Chen Haiyan, Clotworthy Arts Centre, Antrim, UK

Prints by Chen Haiyan, The Elmwood Gallery, Ulster Arts Club, Belfast, UK




Dreams: Woodblock Prints by Chen Haiyan, Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California, USA








From/To: The Frontier of Chinese Art Education, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, USA


Out of Ink: Interpretations from Chinese Contemporary Art, Pera Museum, Istanbul, Turkey



Special Exhibition for the 90thAnniversary of China Academy of Art, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China


West Lake International Expo, Hangzhou, China



Ink and the Mind, Ink Studio, Beijing, China



Last Summer: Artists’ European Trip Exhibition, Jueshe Gallery, Hangzhou, China








Ink and the Body, Ink Studio, Beijing, China

Myriad Beings: Works by the Teachers and Graduate Students of the First Studio of the Department of Printmaking at the China Academy of Art, Ideallart Gallery, Hangzhou, China

Reading People: Shanghai International Printmaking Exhibition 2014, China Art Museum, Shanghai












Burden and Rediscover: Woodblock Prints from the China Academy of Art, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou

The Face of Lu Xun — Exhibition Celebrating the 80th Anniversary of China's New Woodcut Movement and the 130th Anniversary of Lu Xun’s Birth, Zhejiang Art Museum, Hangzhou, China

The 19th National Print-making Exhibition, Zhejiang Art Museum, Hangzhou, China

Trace, Invitational Exhibition of Chinese Print Art Masters’ Works, Lingnan Fine Arts Museum, Dongguan, China

2011 Guanlan International Print Biennial, Guanlan Original Printmaking Base, Shenzhen, China




Ecology and Home, Fourth Beijing International Art Biennale, National Art Museum of China, Beijing






Post-Mao Dreaming: Contemporary Art, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA

Three Decades: The Contemporary Chinese Collection, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia



Vision Féminine—Six Chinese Artists in Venice, Fondaco dell’Arte, Venice, Italy



Dream: In Black & White, Art Beatus, Vancouver, Canada



Techniques of the Visible, Shanghai Biennale 2004, Shanghai Art Museum, China





An Opening Era: Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Founding of the National Art Museum of China, National Art Museum of China, Beijing

Parallel Time: Asian Contemporary Art Exhibition, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou






Chinese Printmaking Today: Woodblock Printing in China 1980–2000, British Library, London, UK

Female Vision: Exhibition of Chinese Female Artists, Western Australian Museum, Perth







Art Chicago, Navy Pier, Chicago, USA

Five Professors’ Exhibition, Haining Museum, China

The 1st Fine Art Exhibition, Jinmao Tower, Shanghai, China

The West Lake Gallery Exhibition, West Lake Gallery, Hangzhou, China

Shanghai Invitational Exhibition of Print Making, M50, Shanghai, China



Korea-China Professors' Exhibition, Dongduk Women's University, Seoul, Korea





Eastlink: Grand Opening of Shanghai's New Contemporary Art Gallery Showing Work by Selected Chinese Artists, Eastlink Gallery, Shanghai, China

1999 Art China, LIMN Gallery, San Francisco, USA







Die Hälfte des Himmels: ChinesischeKünstlerinnen, Frauenmuseum, Bonn, Germany

Jiangnan: Modern and Contemporary Art from South of the Yangzi River, The Art Institute of Vancouver, Canada

The Other Shore of the Sea: Engravings Exhibition, Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon, USA





Exhibition by Asian Women Artists, Regional Workshop on Plastic Arts for Women in Asia, Tehran, Iran

Exhibition by Women Artists, Aichach Art Association, Aichach, Germany






Fine Arts Exhibition by Chinese Women Artists, Reed College, Portland, Oregon, USA

The People’s Progress: Twentieth Century Chinese Woodcuts, Art Gallery of South New Wales, Sydney, Australia

China —Aktuelles aus 15 Ateliers, Räumen der Heßstraße, Munich, Germany







Images of the Western Lake: The Revival of the Colour Print in Contemporary China, British Museum, London, UK

Spaces: Sino-Austrian Exhibition of Female Artists’ Works, Vienna Parliament, Austria; Meerscheinschloss, University of Graz, Austria; Zhejiang Provincial Museum, Hangzhou, China





New Art from China: Post-1989, Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK

Voices from the Edge: Paintings, Installation and Video Art by Ten Chinese Women Artists, Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong, China







China Avant-garde: Counter-currents in Art and Culture, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany; Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands; The Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, UK; Kunsthallen Brandts Klædefabrik, Odense, Denmark

New Art from China: Post-1989, Pao Gallery and Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, China





New Art from China: Post-Mao Product, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane; City of Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Ballarat; Canberra School of Art Gallery, Australia





I Don't Want to Play Cards with Cézanne" and Other Works: Selections from the Chinese "New Wave" and "Avant-Garde" Art of the Eighties, Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California, USA




China/Avant-Garde, National Art Museum of China, Beijing

Contemporary Asian Art Exhibition, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Japan






Beyond the Open Door: Contemporary Paintings from the People’s Republic of China, Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California, USA

Modern Chinese Painting Exhibition, Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK

Print Exhibition, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, UK





British Museum, London, UK

China Art Museum, Shanghai

Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China

Muban Educational Trust, London, UK

Museum of Sydney, Australia

National Art Museum of China, Beijing

Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California, USA

Portland Museum of Art, USA

Qingdao Art Museum, China

Shenzhen Art Museum, China

Shenzhou Engraving Museum, Chengdu, China

White Rabbit Contemporary Chinese Art Collection, Sydney, Australia

The World Bank, Washington, DC, USA


Last Updated: February 2017




Chen Haiyan 陈海燕. "Jianlun kexue jishu fazhan yu banhua yishu zhi guanxi" 简论科学技术发展与版画艺术之关系 ("A Brief Discussion on the Relation between Scientific Development and the Art of Printing"). XinMeishu新美术 (New Arts), vol. 4, 2005, p. 84.


Chen Haiyan 陈海燕. "Shi meng bilu" 拾梦笔录 ("Dream Records"). XinMeishu新美术 (New Arts), vol. 4, 2004, pp. 78-79.


Chen Haiyan 陈海燕. "Hua meng" 画梦 ("Painting the Dreams"). Yishu Jie艺术界 (Leap), vol. 2, 1999, pp. 106-108.


Chen Haiyan 陈海燕. "'Dipingxian shang' chuangzuo tan" "地平线上"创作谈 ("Discussion on the Creation of 'Horizon'"). Meishu美术 (Arts), vol. 7, 1985, p. 53.


Chen Haiyan 陈海燕. "Meng - taozi, huanggua, haiyou guazai shushang de yishang (mu banhua)" "梦——桃子、黄瓜、还有挂在树上得衣裳(木版画)" ("Dream - Peach, Cucumber and the Clothes Hanging on the Tree (woodcut)") and "Meng-hongye (siwang banhua)" "梦——红叶(丝网版画)" ("Dream-Red Leaves (silkscreen)"). XinMeishu新美术 (New Arts), vol. 1, 1999, p. 8.


Chen Haiyan 陈海燕. "Meng (tong banhua)" "梦(铜版画)" ("Dream (copperplate)"). XinMeishu新美术 (New Arts), vol. 2, 1994, p. 105.


Chen Haiyan 陈海燕. "Taifenghou de wutongshu (tong banhua)" "台风后的梧桐树(铜版画)" ("The Phoenix Tree after Typhoon (copperplate)"). XinMeishu新美术 (New Arts), vol. 1, 1990, p. 99.


Chen Haiyan 陈海燕. "Meng zhiyi (mu banhua)" "梦之一(木版画)" ("Dream series I (woodcut)"). XinMeishu新美术 (New Arts), vol. 2, 1989, p. 80.


Chen Haiyan 陈海燕. "Meng zhi'er (mu banhua)" "梦之二(木版画)" ("Dream series II (woodcut)"). XinMeishu新美术 (New Arts), vol. 2, 1989, p. 83.


Chen Haiyan 陈海燕. "Dipingxian shang (tong banhua)" "地平线上(铜版画)" ("Horizon (copperplate)"). XinMeishu新美术 (New Arts), vol. 4, 1985, p. 89.





Binks, Hilary. "Leading Ladies Enter Artistic Mainstream." Window (1994), p. 38-39.


Chan Yuen. "Brushing Away Artistic Stereotypes." Eastern Express (14 April, 1994), p. 20.


Cheng, Scarlet. "At the Cutting Edge." Asian Art News, vol. 4, no. 4 (Jul/Aug 1994), pp. 56-59.


Feng Qiuping 冯秋萍. "Chen Haiyan de meng: zhaojin xianshi de banhua shijie" 陈海燕的梦:照进现实的版画世界 ("Dreams of Chen Haiyan: Shining into the Real World of Print Painting.") .Hangzhou Ribao杭州日报 (Hangzhou Daily), 25 October, 2012.


Huang Fabang 黄发榜. "Chuntian bijingshi chuntian - 'zhongqingnian jiaoshi chuangzuozu' di' erjie nianzhan zonghengtan" 春天毕竟是春天——"中青年教师创作组"第二届年展纵横谈 ("It's Spring Indeed - The 2nd Biennale of Young and Middle Aged Teachers."). XinMeishu新美术 (New Arts), vol. 2, 1986, pp. 9-12.


Jose, Nicholas. "My Search for a Shaman: The Impact of 1989 on Chinese Art." ART AsiaPacific, vol. 1, no. 2 (April 1994), pp. 78-83.


Majid, Amajad. "Chen Haiyan: In the Realm of the Fantastic." Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, July/August 2014, vol.13, No.4, pp. 40-55.


Roberts, Claire. "Chen Haiyan: Dream Work." ART AsiaPacific, No. 36 (Oct-Dec 2002), pp. 46-53.


Xu Hong. "Dialogue: The Awakening of Chinese Women's Consciousness." ART AsiaPacific, vol. 2,no. 2 (April, 1995), pp. 44-51; also published in Dinah Dysart and Hannah Fink, eds. Asian Women Artists. Roseville East: Art Asia Pacific Book, 1996, pp. 16-23.





Andrews, Julia F. and Jessica Nicoll. Post-Mao Dreaming: Chinese Contemporary Art. Northampton: Smith College Museum of Art, 2009.


Bull, Hank. Jiangnan - Modern and Contemporary Art from South of the Yangzi River. Vancouver: Annie Wong Foundation and Western Front Society, 1998.


Chang, Johnson Tsongzung. New Art from China, Post-1989. London: Marlborough Fine Art, 1994.


Doran, Valerie C., cur. Voices from the Edge: Paintings, Installation and Video Art by Ten Chinese Women Artists. Hong Kong: Hanart TZ Gallery, 1994.


Erickson, Britta. China Onward The Estella Collection: Chinese Contemporary Art, 1966-2006. Humlebæk: Louisiana Museum of Art, 2007.


Farrer, Anne, ed. Chinese Printmaking Today: Woodblock Printing in China 1980-2000. London: British Library, 2003.


Feng Boyi, et al. The China Project. Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery, 2009.


Gao Minglu 高名潞. Zhongguoxiandaiyishuzhan 中国现代艺术展 (China/Avant-Garde). Beijing: Zhongguo Meishuguan 中国美术馆 (National Art Museum of China), 1989.


Gu Yi 古仪, Shi Hui 施慧, Pan Ying 潘璎 and Chen Haiyan 陈海燕. Nvxingshijue:Zhongguonvyishujiazuopinzhan女性视觉:中国女艺术家作品展 (Female Vision: Artworks of Chinese Female Artists). Hangzhou: Zhejiangsheng meishujia xiehui浙江省美术家协会 (Artists Association of Zhejiang Province), 2002.


Lee, Jaeheung. Chagall & Chagall: The Artworks of Chen Haiyan. DaeJeon City, South Korea: Asia Museum, 2003.


Liao Wen 廖雯. Zhongguo dangdaimeishuxianxiang piping wencong: Nvxingzhuyizuowei fangshi - nvxingyishu 中国当代美术现象批评文丛:女性主义作为方式--女性艺术 (Contemporary Chinese Art Criticism Series: A Study on Women's Art in China). Edited by Zhang, Xiaoling 张晓凌. Changchun: Jilin chubanshe吉林出版社 (Jilin Fine Arts House), 1999.


Lopez, Sebastian et al. 2004 Shanghai shuangnianzhan: yingxiang shengcun 2004 上海双年展:影像生存 Shanghai Biennale 2004: Techniques of the Visible Edited by Xu Jiang许江 and Fang Zengxian方增先. Shanghai: Shanghai Meishuguan 上海美术馆 (Shanghai Art Museum), 2004.


Menzies, Jackie. The People's Progress: Twentieth Century Chinese Woodcuts. Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1996.


Noth, Jochen et al., eds. China/Avant-Garde: Counter-Currents in Art and Culture. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1993.


Roberts, Claire. New Art from China: Post-Mao Product. Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1992.


Shi Ling 石玲 and Zheng Xiaojuan郑小娟, eds. Contemporary Chinese Women Painters. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1995.


Strassberg, Richard E., ed. "I Don't Want to Play Cards with Cézanne" and Other Works: Selections from Chinese "New Wave" and "Avant-Garde" Art of the Eighties.Pasadena, California: Pacific Art Museum, 1991.


Strassberg, Richard E. and Waldemar A. Nielsen. Beyond the Open Door: Contemporary Paintings from the People's Republic of China. Pasedena, California: Pacific Art Museum, 1987.


van Dijk, Hans, Juliane Noth et al.China - Aktuellesaus 15 Ateliers. Munich: Hahn Produktion, 1996.


Werner, Chris, Qiu Ping and Marianne Pitzen, eds. Die Hälfte des Himmels: Chinesische Künstlerinnen. Bonn: Frauen Museum, 1998.


Yue Heng 岳恒, ed. Zhongguoqianweiyishu中国前卫艺术 (Chinese Avant-garde Art). Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1994





The Artone Center online. Category Archives: Chen Haiyan online.



Asia Art Archive. Collection Online: Chen Haiyan.



Davis, Edward L. Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture. London: Routledge, 2005, pp. 77-78.


Erickson, Britta, producer and director. "Chen Haiyan's Dreams." The Enduring Passion for Ink: A Project on Contemporary Chinese InkPainters." Part of a 10-part film series, 17 min, 7 sec, digital, color, sound, 2013.


Gong Mingchun 巩明春. director and Peng Peng彭鹏, photographer. "Chen Haiyan jilupian: waxin" 陈海燕纪录片:娲信 ("A Creation Myth: Chen Haiyan Documentary"). In Xiangwangyishujihua: Zhongguo dangdaiyishuge'anyanjiu he jilupianxiangmu象罔艺术计划:中国当代艺术个案研究和纪录片项目 (Le Code Project: Case Study and Documentary of Chinese Contemporary Art), film, 4 min, 29 sec, digital, color, sound, 2014.



Sullivan, Michael. Modern Chinese Artists: A Biographical Dictionary. Berkeley: University of California, 2006.


Weng Zijian 翁子建. "Chen Haiyan fangtan" 陈海燕访谈 (Chen Haiyan Interview), 27 November 2008. In Weilai de cailiaojilu: 1980-1990 Zhongguo dangdaiyishu未来的材料记录:1980-1990中国当代艺术 (Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990).