Hu Xiaoyuan’s artistic style has always been dominated by delicate, analytical, and implicit contradictions. Her cross-media works, including installation, painting, and multimedia, all demonstrate a sensitivity toward materials which arise from her careful observations of daily life. She manages to isolate a unique aesthetic from a dialectical process that studies meaning and perception. Based on a formal lexicon borrowing from Minimal art, Hu Xiaoyuan never topples into the easy recourse to illustrative material which might be identified as “Chinese.” Needless to say, her frequent choice of materials (silk, rice paper, hair, wood and metal) attaches her subtly to the Chinese visual space, but it is through means other than those of optical recognition that she manages to construct an oeuvre which expresses a specific way of thinking, and one that cannot be reduced to European aesthetic presuppositions. The forms she develops seem to emanate from forms of matter, emphasizing them and magnifying them through subtle enhancement procedures. And far from looking for any kind of “unification principle” applied to the world, a process aimed at making it intelligible and tangible, her words wittingly produce misunderstanding and uncertainty, showing a revelation of the void and of the intervals which are part and parcel of the fundamental conceptual contributions of Chinese thinking. The work of Hu Xiaoyuan updates this conceptual heritage with a rigor and an energy which single her out in the contemporary artistic landscape.
Hu Xiaoyuan (b. 1977, Harbin) graduated from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, and currently lives and works in Beijing. Hu Xiaoyuan’s works have been widely shown in the international art scenes. Important shows she has taken part in include “The Great Acceleration: Taipei Biennial” (Taipei, 2014), “The Ungovernables: New Museum Triennial” (New York, 2012), and Documental12 (Kassel, 2007), etc. Her works have also been shown in numerous museums and art centers, such as Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Tank Shanghai, Shanghai; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Mingsheng Art Museum, Beijing; Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing; chi K11 Art Museum, Shenyang, China; Qiao Space, Shanghai; Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing; Orange County Museum of Art, Orange County; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, U.S.A.; Museum of Fine Arts, St.Petersburg, U.S.A.; Bildmuseet, Bildmuseet Umeå University, Sweden; Musée d’Art Moderne dela Ville de Paris, Paris; Taikang Space, Beijing; Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai; Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern; Kunsthalle Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany; Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; Power Station of Art, Shanghai; Shanghai Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel and so on. Her works have been collected by Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; M+Museum, Hong Kong, and Power Station of Art, Shanghai, etc. In 2019, she was nominated for the first Sigg Prize by M+, Hong Kong.