Living Sci-Fi, under the red stars
For her second solo exhibition at the gallery, Beijing-based artist Guan Xiao (b. 1983 in Chongqing, China) looks at rapidly changing urban environments as they are transformed through the speed and influx of economic development and technology. Living Sci-Fi, under the red stars engages in an ecosystem built by humans. A place where the old world of the urban fringe with its dust, dirt, and violent roughness exists alongside the new world of dense high rise pillars, shiny glass buildings, and well-designed areas for entertainment and consumption. Born into fragmented time and highly synthetic surroundings, fictitious creatures and seemingly animated objects populate the exhibition space. Guan Xiao investigates the patterns of relation between products, artifacts and nature. Her sculptures appear as mimicry of the world we inhabit. They explore our understanding of things and environments, not by employing theoretical concepts but in terms of existence and means of expression. Potentials for life show through the inorganic objects. The exhibition also features Guan Xiao’s new video ‘Dengue Dengue Dengue‘, which she developed for the exhibition ‘A Temporary Futures Institute’ at M HKA, Antwerp. The three-channel video describes how habits contaminate our behavior, spreading around the world like an infectious disease. The infection is a transformation happening inside of us: the work calls for a retreat from these dynamics in order to learn the possibilities of breaking habits. By using materials that belong to vocabularies of different cultures, Guan Xiao frees herself from the burden of the cliché of cultural otherness that is often attributed to artistic positions from the so-called margin of the western centers of art. Guan Xiao understands herself as a receiver of information from around the globe and beyond, and she fuses all its aspects to generate a distinct yet poetic and critical voice that engages and speaks to us.