Hu Xiaoyuan

胡 哮媛

Installations, *1977 Harbin, Heilongjian, lives in Beijing

Hu Xiaguan, 2008, photo bonnierskonsthall

Hu Xiaguan was one of the surprises at Dokumenta 12 in Kassel 2007. Entirely unknown she presented a collection of needle-points stitched with her own hair on silk fabric:

A Keepsake I cannot give away”

'A Keepsake I cannot give away' (2005) consists of twenty embroideries, grouped in pairs, executed by Hu on white silk in the course of fourteen months with the aid of a wooden embroidery hoop. Each pair displays a traditional Chinese motif from the world of flora and fauna, metaphors for the happiness of couples in love, and an image of (erotic) parts of her own body. Her own long hair serves her as thread. After an old Chinese custom, women gave their husbands a strand of hair as a demonstration of faithfulness. Hu’s keepsakes are intimate and testify to a sense of loneliness.
Documenta 12

Since this Western debute little has been seen of Hu Xiaguan. She has turned to multi-channel videos, which cannot be displayed on a webpage.

Hu Xiaoyuan, ”I Don't Know How Long You've Been Walking On, and I Don't Know Where You're Going”
4-channel video, Space Station, Beijing, 2010

Quote from the Beijing Gallery:
“Hu Xiaoyuan seems to have been able to detach herself from concrete experiences(!), turning to abstract topics such as time, space, and existence. The four-channel projection I Don’t Know How Long You’ve Been Walking On, and I Don’t Know Where You’re Going occupies the wall of the main exhibition hall. Each panel records the rhythmic, rippling, side-to-side movement produced in folds of clothing worn by four different walkers shot from behind. Although different textures and gaits are distinguishable among the rhythm and tone of each panel, Hu uses slow motion—almost turning the work into still life—as a way to declare the nothingness inherent in time and space.”
Photo and text

The latest exhibition of Hu's videos took place earler this year in Shanghai:
“A Potent Force”: Duan Jianyu (*1970) and Hu Xiaoyuan (*1977), 2013
Rockbund Art Museum, No.20 Huqiu Road, Shanghai, China

Quote by the curator Karen Smith:
“....[In contrast to Duan Jianyu] Hu Xiaoyuan’s formative experiences were more or less devoid of “politics” in the ideological sense, but overrun with the politics of economy and internationalism that governed China’s “peaceful rise” to its present international status. Her generation is, courtesy of the internet as an information platform and the ease of travel, more widely versed in the ways of the international world than her elder peers. She is, as a child of the reform era, precious, precocious, confident and slightly insecure, yet independent in thought and will. Comfortable with her individualism, Hu Xiaoyuan finds reason to challenge the notion of art in China today, as a value system, as a process of visually interpreting the world and as a material object. Recent video installations increasingly undermine the process of reading her works: What we, as viewers, see is not clear in terms of narrative or form. Hu Xiaoyuan asks that we become aware of looking and does so by making it as hard as possible to recognise the work’s content. Her work focuses on what can be done and experienced within the sphere of the self, relying on one’s own sense alone to navigate and understand what is seen and felt of the world...”
No photos, text rockbound