Stephanie Syjuco was born in Manila, Philippines, in 1974. Syjuco works in photography, sculpture, and installation, moving from handmade and craft-inspired mediums to digital editing. Her work explores the tension between the authentic and the counterfeit, challenging deep-seated assumptions about history, race, and labor.
Syjuco’s installations frequently invite viewers to be active participants, from crocheting counterfeit designer handbags to purchasing items at an alternative gift shop within a museum, in order to investigate global consumerism, capitalism and its effects on artists. Through photographic portraits composed in the studio, Syjuco further explores economies of labor and value, with a political dimension inspired by colonialist ethnographic photography, her identity as an immigrant, and media-filtered protest imagery.
Stephanie Syjuco received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and MFA from Stanford University. Her awards and residencies include the Guggenheim Fellowship (2014), Artadia Fellowship Residency Award at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (2010), Joan Mitchell Painters & Sculptors Award (2009), and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1997). She has had major exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art (2018); the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2018, 2017, 2011, 2000); Havana Biennial (2015); Asian Art Biennial (2015); Z33 Space for Contemporary Art (2012); ZKM Center for Art and Media Technology (2011); MoMA P.S.1 (2009, 2006); and Whitney Museum of American Art (2005). Syjuco is a long-time educator and currently an assistant professor of sculpture at the University of California, Berkeley. She lives and works in Oakland, California.
Director of digital Jonathan Munar delivers a guest dispatch of Art21’s latest on-goings.
In a new film from our “Extended Play” series, Stephanie Syjuco navigates the deeply embedded visual tropes of American history applied in her practice.
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“What I’m doing is absorbing and processing the world around me and it’s becoming political. I don’t think I have a choice anymore; it’s just my reality.”