Guan Xiao: Fiction Archive Project

Guan Xiao, Weather Forecast
Guan Xiao, Weather Forecast, installation view, K11 Art Foundation Shanghai, in association with Institute of Contemporary Arts London, 2016. Courtesy the artist; Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin; and Antenna Space, Shanghai. Photo: Christian Schwager, Winterthur.

St. Louis– The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) announces the first solo museum exhibition in the United States by Beijing- based artist Guan Xiao, providing audiences with the opportunity to encounter the work of one of the leading members of a new generation of Chinese artists. Guan Xiao: Fiction Archive Project will be on view at CAM from January 18 through April 21, 2019. 

Through her multimedia practice involving sculpture, installation, and video, Xiao combines discordant objects, words, images, and sounds. Her artwork is a study in contrasts, piece-by-piece assemblages of physical forms or digital images. Whether as installations or multi-channel video, her work is representative of how the mind processes information in the age of the internet. Browsing, for example, is a cognitive process through which we encounter vastly different visual, aural, and written data. Xiao believes “raw awareness” is an accurate description of this process, a state of awareness that flattens perspective. Her juxtaposition of ancient and contemporary forms—a bust of Nefertiti and an automobile headlight—are removed from history and functionality, distilled as a “lump of recycled things in changing packages.” 

To make art for audiences who have grown accustomed to the delivery of information in a second, Xiao is intuitive, radically free-form, and attentive to people’s “shifting habits” in our complex environment. “Everything has collapsed” she has observed, and she seeks avenues through which audiences may make associations where distinctions have dissolved. She provides her audiences context, allowing them to discern the subject matter, and through the use of rhythm—whether in visual montage, sound, music, or the line, color, and shape of objects—Xiao offers intersections where the senses may best experience transitions between forms.

Guan Xiao: Fiction Archive Project is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator, with Misa Jeffereis, Assistant Curator. 

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