Guan Xiao

    BIOGRAPHY

    Guan Xiao (b. 1983) lives and works in Beijing. Guan takes a playful approach to making sculptures, videos, and installations, identifying disparate relationships between unexpected materials to create a visual language that breaks historical and cultural boundaries alike. She often positions physical objects – such as industrial products and cultural artifacts – alongside images amassed from scrolling through the infinite universe of desktop and laptop screens. Her works generate cohesive textures between binaries sourced from contrasting and even conflicting worlds, and fuse old and modern, digital and analogue, and natural and artificial modes. Attuned to both possibilities and looming hazards, Guan Xiao’s prescient and puzzling arrangements critique the technological thrust of the present moment while providing indelible visions of our dislocated, rapidly approaching future.

    Guan Xiao has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions worldwide including Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Germany (2019); Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, US (2019); Kunsthalle Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland (2018); Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London, UK (2016) among others. Recent and notable group exhibitions include: The 34th Bienal de São Paulo: Though It’s Dark, Still I Sing, São Paulo, Brazil (2021); X Museum Triennial 1st Edition: How Do We Begin?, X Museum, Beijing, China (2020); The 57th Venice Biennal: Viva Arte Viva, Venice, Italy (2017); 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience, New Museum, New York, US (2015) among others. Her work is in the permanent collections of institutions, such as the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland; Boros Collection, Berlin, Germany; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy; Kadist Collection, Paris, France; San Francisco, US; White Rabbit Collection, Sydney, Australia; M+ Collection, Hong Kong; K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong; Long Museum, Shanghai, New Century Art Foundation, Beijing and among others.

    Artworks

    EXHIBITIONS

    NEWS

    ARTICLES

    • Rhythm Of Singularity | Lai Fei

       
      To be honest, I don’t know how Guan Xiao does it. Looking at the ways she grabs and synthesizes materials in her work, it’s a bit like watching a contestant on The Brain1 microscopically examining a thousand goldfish. This isn’t a totally apt analogy, for today it’s nearly impossible to quantify—and to describe, even—just how much visual information we receive on a daily basis, via networks both visible and intangible. In this imploding society, everyone is caught in the constant flow of data, always susceptible to some form of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. What makes Guan’s work unique is her ability to maintain an extremely high level of concentration while pulling content and motifs from the massive material bank of the internet. In her process, she stays true to an internal worldview that is neither culturally specific nor general. In this dazzling world of data, she finds her own “basic logic” to connect forms.

    • Everyday Transformations: Guan Xiao | Ying Tan

       
      “In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora (I intend to speak of forms changed into new entities)”—Ovid, Metamorphoses

       

      Ovid opens the Metamorphoses (AD 8) with an explicit statement of intent. In the 250 myths that follow, the Roman poet chronicles the subject of transformation—sometimes in an arbitrary fashion, sometimes retelling well-known Greek fables, and sometimes straying in other, unexpected directions. One of these stories, which entered our collective consciousness, can be seen at Rome’s Galleria Borghese, where Giovanni Bernini’s famous sculpture tells the tale of the nymph Daphne in mid-metamor­phosis—her limbs turning into the twines of a laurel tree as she escapes from the love-stricken Apollo. Transformations occur in our everyday lives, too; we experience this in cinema, as film scores transport audiences sonically through visual imagery…

    • Be Here, Now: An Introduction to an Introduction | Stephanie Bailey

       

      “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

      —Rumi

       
      In autumn, 2000, New Literary History published an issue asking if there was life after identity politics, to which Marlon B. Ross responded: “Which ‘identity?’ What ‘politics?’ ‘After’ when and where?” Ross’s point was this: Before “identity politics” there was already a politics of identity—and “wherever there is identity, there is a struggle for power.” In the same issue, Eric Lott located this struggle within a “politics of participatory discrepancy,” created when emergent social movements collide and collude to form a dissonant social fabric composed of rampant intersections and interactions between groups. It is in this fabric that Lott located a potential for a unified, anti-normative politics, in which no one is represented by one movement, and no movement is expected to represent the entirety of a human being.

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