Guanyu Xu

徐冠宇 Guanyu Xu (b.1993 Beijing) is an artist currently based in Chicago where he received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Guanyu was the recipient of the Fred Endsley Memorial Fellowship, a finalist for Lucie Foundation Emerging Artist Scholarship and the finalist of Luminarts Cultural Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship.

His works have been exhibited internationally including the Aperture Foundation, New York; the Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins; New York Photo Festival, New York; The Union League Club of Chicago, Chicago; Mint Museum, Charlotte; Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana; Embassy Tea Gallery, London, and others. His works have been featured in numerous publications including Aint-Bad Magazine, Musée Magazine, Der Greif, and China Photographic Publishing House.

Parallel Journeys

Parallel Journeys interweaves photographs made over the last four years that chart my personal excursions within the US, and travels with my mother through the US and Europe. Using staged and constructed photography, I connect personal narratives with transnational politics. My work examines the intersectional experiences of race, sexuality, and citizenship in the US, along with conservative familial relationships in China.

Playing with documentary and fiction, the work includes self-portraits that portray the staged act of intimacy with other gay men. This constellation of photographs not only imagines alternative ways of gay male intimacy but also encourages a diverse representation often underrepresented in mainstream cultural production.

Through the intricately positioning and layering images, I aim to juxtapose, contradict, and collapse space and time. By disrupting my teenage home with this image production, I reclaimed it as a queer space of freedom and a temporary protest. The images migrate in and out of public and domestic space, past and present, virtual and physical, linking the private and public spheres of politics.

In our present moment of supposed freedom, the free expression of sexuality is still on the edge of acceptance. Parallel Journeys collapses these spaces to point to the relationship between individual freedom and global political governance.

To view more of Guanyu Xu’s work please visit his website.