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Guan Xiao

The Beijing-based artist Guan Xiao (b. 1983, Chongqing) makes sculptures, videos and installations. Guan Xiao’s sculptural work is characterised by its combination of objects from different cultural contexts: for example, she makes bronze casts of tree roots, polished according to Chinese tradition, combining these with mass-produced plastic objects, as well as signs and logos from the online world. Her work thus illustrates the contrasts and contradictions in a number of historical and economic contexts, while never losing its poetic, absurd undertones. This is also the case with her video works, which are often made to be shown on three screens, as in Just a Normal Day. To make this and similar works, Guan Xiao used excerpts from YouTube videos to create a visual composition that expresses sensations and feelings. The images here follow each another like fragments from an inner monologue about death, life and lust; about religion, self-love, technology, longing and terror, presenting different perspectives on the infinitely small and the infinitely large. Short sentences, like scraps of thought, merge with noises, melodies and musical fragments to form a stream of impressions that can be regarded as metaphors for an overall emotional and philosophical approach to the world. The metaphor, according to Guan Xiao, is ‘in a way, the only way for us humans to understand or grasp the world’. The artist's work addresses the poetry of this metaphorical impressionism. She describes it like this: ‘I see life and/ or narratives as made of pieces that we pick up. […] Often the things we contain in ourselves are phenomena such as smells – atmospheres of a present that might not be our present moment. […] When I assemble footage, or make metaphors, the body’s sensation helps me: sound, smell, and touch build up images in my head.’


  1. Guan Xiao, "Just a Normal Day", 2019. Triple projection vidéo, couleur, son. 26 min 51 sec. 1/5 + 1 EA. Collection Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean. Donation 2022 – Allen & Overy. Vue de l’exposition "Products Farming", Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, 02.02 – 20.04.2019 © Courtesy the artist ; Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin
    Guan Xiao Just a Normal Day, 2019

    Triple projection vidéo, couleur, son
    26 min 51 sec
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Donation 2021 – Allen & Overy
    Vue de l’exposition Products Farming, Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, 02.02 – 20.04.2019
    © Courtesy de l'artiste ; Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin

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