Gallery: Pékin Fine Arts
Artist(s): Phénix Varbanov
Opening / Event Date: 28 Jul, 2023
Closing / End Date: 30 Sep, 2023
Date: 7 June – 9 September 2023
Venue: Galerie du Monde, 108 Ruttonjee Centre, 11 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong
Opening Reception: 7 June 2023 (Wednesday), 17:00 – 19:00
The artist will be present, and available for press interviews.
HONG KONG – Galerie du Monde is delighted to announce Guanyu Xu’s “Duration of Stay”, which marks the Chicago-based Chinese artist’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong. Influenced by the production of ideology in American visual culture and a conservative familial upbringing in China, Xu’s practice extends from examining the production of power in photography and collage, to the question of personal freedom and its relationship to political regimes.
Fractured identity and forms of belonging are central to the artist’s practice and integral to all aspects of the work in the exhibition. Juxtaposing landscapes with an intimate view of personal spaces, the power of Xu’s imagination is founded upon the negotiation and reinterpretation of images over time, making space for multiplicity and growth.
“Duration of Stay” features Xu’s work from multiple series, including his long-term project Resident Aliens that addresses the idea of citizenship and form of belonging; his new Traversable Landscape series which reveals the border regime as a space inherently perpetuating imperialism, xenophobia and racism; a 144-part installation Suspension which expresses the artist’s powerlessness as an alien in the US during the pandemic and the suspended experience of the deadlock created by political powers; and a video work Complex Formation, where Xu questions the visual hegemony that perpetuated his mother’s vision and her influence over him.
This August, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will feature Xu’s Temporarily Censored Home series in exhibition “Sea Change: Photographs from the Collection”, and the MSU Broad Art Museum has commissioned two new works by Xu to be presented in the museum’s exhibition “Shouldn’t You Be Working? 100 years of Working from Home”.
Hong Kong Project
Elaborating on his Resident Aliens concept, Xu will profile a domestic helper from the Philippines, a scholar from Northern China, and a refugee from Egypt through his photography, and temporarily reconstruct their living room into a dense mosaic, unveiling a new perspective on the life of these three “resident aliens” in the context of Hong Kong.
Resident Aliens presents photographic installations within immigrants’ interior spaces to examine their personal histories and complex experiences. Xu creates ephemeral installations within private space, transforming the interior into a hall of mirrors that captures immigrants’ life and blurs the boundaries between the familiar and foreignness, private and public, belonging and alienation.
Xu’s collaboration with participants is not only an integral social practice in representing their complex identities and histories, but also a negotiation of power and assumed stereotypes. As a “foreigner” entering their “territory”, Xu transforms their temporary states of being into installations and preserve the constructions as photographs. The project presents immigrants’ intimately nuanced experiences within their homes and in the society at large. These convergences of spaces and times invite the viewer to enter into spaces of fluidity rather than fixed perspectives. They mobilize the viewer’s gaze, imagination, and care, defying strict definitions.
The new series in the exhibition, Traversable Landscape, is an examination of border architecture that acts as a brutal and monumentalized deterrence toward immigrants and people of color. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, roughly two-thirds of the United States population lives within the 100-mile zone, with more than 100 permanent and temporary interior checkpoints within the extended border. These constructions of state power perpetually classify immigrants as potential subjects of criminality.
Xu first collects Google Street View photographs of border checkpoints and collaged them with personal photographs such as seascapes and sky, legal documents for visas that the artist obtained over the past decade, and digital drawings he made during the pandemic, representing Xu’s engagement with the idea of landscape and structure, interrogating the ever-increasing control over immigration by governments.
A large grid of images, Suspension, comprising 144 out of 558 pages of Xu’s United States O1 visa paperwork, collaged over a semi-cartographic digital drawing of the streets of Shanghai which Xu created for a solo exhibition in that city that got censored. The two layers each represents one superpower. The drawing transforms the document into a new space without clear borders and orientation, imagining the freedom of mobility. The work expresses the artist’s powerlessness as an alien in the United States during the pandemic, the inability to travel back to his home country, the suspended experience of the deadlock created by political powers, the overwhelming preparation for a visa, and the reaction to his censored exhibition.
Galerie du Monde opens from Monday to Saturday, 10:00 – 19:00