Born in 1965 in Hebei, China.
Graduated from the print-making department of the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in 1991, Yan is considered one of the bad boys of China’s contemporary art scene. Best known for his daring and psychological portraits of blurry and confused scenes, Yan borrows from the surrounding art world, but also rails against it in his portraits and his public appearances. His images are sometimes psychedelic, like his colorful, shimmering wheel portaits. In one newsworthy prank, fellow artist, Hong Hao, and Yan created fake invitations to Documenta and sent them to Chinese artists, who were unaware that they were being taken in. Yan is also known for his videos and installations.