Guanyu Xu's photographic interventions offer an exploration of his complex personal history and identity; born and raised in China, Xu moved to the US in 2014. His work bridges the gap between the personal and political, highlighting the disparities and connections between the two nations, in which his intersectional experience of the US meets his conservative familial experience of China.
In his recent series, Temporarily Censored Home (2018-2019), Xu covertly created intricately layered photographic installations in his parents’ home in Beijing, queering the normativity of this heterosexual space. By inserting a vast array of both made and collected photographs, including images from family albums, adverts and editorials he collected as a teen, and portraits of himself and other gay men, Xu reclaims his home as a queer space of freedom and rebellion. In some rooms, photographs of varying sizes cover every visible inch, while in others oversized prints are draped over pieces of furniture or hanging from the ceiling. Doorways and windows are replaced with photographs to create dizzying perspectives in which the viewer is led to wonder what is real and what is not. These juxtapositions collapse space and time, pointing to the relationship between individual freedom and global political governance while aiming to dissolve the borders of opposition.
Born in 1993 in Beijing, Guanyu Xu lives and works in Chicago. He earned his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2019. Xu was the recipient of the Fred Endsley Memorial Fellowship (2015) and the James Weinstein Memorial Fellowship (2018). He is the winner of the Lenscratch Student Prize (2019), the Foam Talent Award (2019), Lensculture Emerging Talent Award (2019), Kodak Film Photo Award (2019), and he is a Runner-up of the Aperture Foundation Portfolio Prize (2019).
His works have been exhibited and screened internationally including the Aperture Foundation, New York; ICP Museum, New York; Athens Photo Festival, Greece; Format Photo Festival, UK; EXPO Chicago, Chicago; Mint Museum, Charlotte, 36th Kasseler Dokfest, Germany, and others. His work can be found in public collections including The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. His works have been featured in numerous publications including The New Yorker, W Magazine, Aint-Bad Magazine, Musée Magazine, Der Greif, and China Photographic Publishing House.