This special conversation with artists Guan Xiao and Xu Bing was presented in partnership with Art21. Both artists were recently featured in the “Beijing” episode from the latest season of Art21′s Art in the Twenty-First Century series. The artists were joined by Weng Xiaoyu, associate curator, Guggenheim Museum, for a conversation and Q&A.
Art21 is a non-profit contemporary art organization and producers of films on contemporary art and artists—including the Peabody award-winning PBS series, Art in the Twenty-First Century—as well as media, educational resources and programs, and more.
Guan Xiao was born 1983 in Chongqing Province, China. In her sculpture and video work, Guan juxtaposes discordant images, diverse cultural artifacts, and modern technology to create objects that are futuristic, referential, unsettling, and humorous. Working with traditional Chinese sculpted tree roots, 3D fabrications, and readymade industrial objects, Guan Xiao epitomizes the next generation of artists from China, rooted in transnational culture and immersed in our technology-fueled present. Her video works mirror viewers’ experiences of the Internet and personal memories, where seemingly unrelated images find inexplicable yet resonant connection.
Xu Bing was born in 1955 in Chongqing, China, and grew up in Beijing. Fascinated with visual and written languages, Xu builds mixed-media installations that simultaneously evoke and subvert centuries-old Chinese cultural traditions, such as calligraphy, wood-block printing, and landscape painting scrolls. The artist asks viewers to consider how our cultural backgrounds, especially those shaped by language, fundamentally color our worldviews.