Jes Fan

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My studio practice is rooted in a haptic approach to understanding how identity is materialized, biologically and ontologically. Approaching materials as molecules, my sculptures examine the bio-politics behind identity formation. From sex hormones to silicone, from soap to moisture, I use substances that are imbued with erotic and political signifiers to address my concerns in diasporic politics, transgender identities, and posthumanism.

Designed as feedback ecologies, my installations are allegories for seeing our bodies as sensory systems, that require output, input, and efficient maintenance. In a recent solo show at Vox Populi, a humidifier softly spews out clouds of vaporized testosterone, which are absorbed by 5lb weights made out of glycerin, thus appearing as if they are sweating. In the piece “Disposed to Add”, silicone barbells are casted in soft silicone. Rendered limp like purposeless prosthetics, these sculptures are then enacted by dancers, who used these barbells to explore intimacy as governed by tension. Through my appropriation, these athletic objects, originally intended to condition human bodies, are themselves given biological functions, such as flexibility, respiration and perspiration. Oscillating between the corporeal and the object, these sculptures invite viewers to radically imagine how our bodies can, and, do exist beyond the limits of our skin.

At the core of my practice is an urgency to queer the static notion of the “normative”. Lately, I have been subverting familiar artifacts related to rituals of beauty and wellness. For “Testo-Soap” (2017), eight vials of pharmaceutical testosterone are saponified into a solid block of soap, as a gesture to materialize the performativity of gender. For “Stranded between one act and another” (2016), two hair brushes are grafted to each other with hair, and the feminine act of brushing one’s hair becomes a continuous circuit, neither arriving to an end nor making clear its beginning. These sculptures, often paradoxical, provoke the uncanny, proposing that no object is truly objective, as identity politics is inherently embedded in every matter that we hold, and desire.


Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), RI,
BFA in Glass, 2014


Artist in Residence, Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, 2017
Artist in Residence, Pioneer Works, NYC, 2017
Vermont Studio Center Artist Grant and Residency, VT, 2015
Visiting Artist Residency, RISD Glass, RI, Spring 2015


“Disposed to Add”, Solo Show, Vox Populi Gallery, PA, 2017
“No Clearance in Niche”, Solo show, Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), NYC, 2017″Other” Solo Show, Sarah Doyle Gallery, Brown University, RI, December 2016


“Threshold”, Underdonk Gallery, curated by Codify Art, NYC, 2017
“Set on Freedom”, Queens Museum, NYC, 2017
“In Search of Miss Ruthless”, Para Site, curated by Hera Chan and David Borgonjon, Hong Kong, China, 2017
“Stranger Things”, Outpost Artist Resource, curated by Doreen Garner, NYC, 2017
“From Dada to Ta-Da”, Fisher Parrish Gallery, curated by Max Wolf, NYC, 2017
“Disposed to Add”, Performance, Pioneer Works, NYC, 2017
“Whereabouts”, Glazenhuis Museum, curated by Hyperopia Projects, Belgium, 2016 “Remembering something that doesn’t have a name”, Performance, Chrysler Museum of Art, VA, 2015
“Material Location”, UrbanGlass, group show, curated by Susie Silbert, NYC, , 2014


Emergency Grant, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, 2017
Edward and Sally Van Lier Fellowship, Museum of Arts and Design, 2017 Creative Glass Center of America Fellowship, Wheaton Arts, 2016
Award of Excellence, RISD Glass Department, 2014
John A. Chironna Fellowship, RISD, 2013
Partner Scholarship, Pilchuck Glass School, 2012, 2014, 2017


New Yorker, “From Dada to Ta-da”, Goings on about town, August 2017
Enid Tsui, “Hong Kong Art Show on Beauty Pageants”, South China Morning Post, July 2017 Vanessa Thill, Artforum, Critics’ Pick, June 2017
Rain Embuscado, “Art that Evokes the Uncanny Body”, Hyperallergic, June 2017
Danielle Wu, “From a Testosterone Candle to Impossible Shoes, Meditations on Transitioning Between Genders”, Hyperallergic, March 2017
Andrew Salome, “Artist Makes Testosterone Soap and Other Paradoxical Objects”, The Creator’s Project, January 2017
Jan Castro, “Jes Fan in Their Studio”,, January 2017
Winter Mendelson, “Studio Visit with Artist Jes Fan”, Posture Magazine, December 2016


“Feminine Essence: Estrogenic Facial”, Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, 2017 “Feminine Presence: Biology as Craft”, Museum of Arts and Design, NYC, 2017 Visiting Critic, Sculpture Department, RISD, RI, 2017
Visiting Artist, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, PA, 2017
Visiting Critic, Junior Installation Class, Pratt Institute, NYC, 2016
Visiting Artist, Academy of Visual Arts, Baptist University, Hong Kong, 2016
Visiting Critic, Glass Department, Junior Class, RISD, RI, 2015