Guanyu Xu

(Chinese, b. 1993; resides in Chicago, IL)

In 2018, as an act of resistance and expression, Chicago-based artist Guanyu Xu began secretly constructing and documenting elaborate photographic installations throughout his parent’s apartment in a Beijing military complex while they were away for the day. This act allowed Xu to queer the conservative, heteronormative space where his identity as a gay man is taboo and has never been revealed. Xu’s multifaceted formations consist of Western magazine clippings he collected as a teenager living in China, family photos, and Xu’s own photographs including himself and other gay men in the United States from his previous series One Land to Another. As such, Xu creates an intersection of cross-cultural critique and a free, although temporary, expression of his sexuality. 

 Guanyu Xu attended the Beijing Film Academy (2011-2013) and completed a BFA and MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2016, 2019). His work has been included in exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2020), the New Orleans Museum of Art, LA (2020), and the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2020), and the Aperture Foundation, New York (2016), among many others. He was the Aperture Foundation Portfolio Prize Runner-up in 2019.