A4 Art MuseumExhibitions
Artist Case StudySouthwestern Art Ecology

Solo Exhibition: Gu Xiong — Towards the Rivers

2020.12.19 - 2021.03.07
  • Artist:
    Gu Xiong
  • Artistic Director:
    Sunny Sun
  • Curator:
    Ni Kun

Exhibition information

Gu Xiong-Towards the Rivers

Ni Kun

I sit on stone
Looking across the water

To the other shore
Wanting to return home
I think I see it
But I cannot reach it

——Gu Xiong, I sit on stone/2020

“Gu Xiong: The River” juxtaposes two ways of looking by establishing the parallel structures of Gu Xiong, the living, individual artist, and the river, a larger symbol of life. His work has bridged different cultures for more than forty years, which gives his vision a certain breadth. The intersection of multiple mediums, including poetry, prose, installation, photography, painting, and video, gives this panorama of the artist’s existence and circumstances dimension and richness, or it offers an intense sense of medium and place.

The exhibition showcases the work Gu made after he moved abroad in 1990, dealing with themes such as migration, identity, and the place of the individual in globalization. Unfamiliar cultural contexts, estrangement becoming commonplace, and the active construction of a new cultural identity have long been the subjects of Gu’s work. “All cultures are complex,” he writes in his 1995 work Campfire. “It […] fuels the change in both art and life. It is the conflict of cultures which has entered my work […] it is in a state of constant evolution.”

Gu Xiong’s reflections on cultural identity are confirmed in his emphasis on a “complex” “conflict of cultures.” Life, emotion, and art are elevated to a key place. Expressing a new culture (and not assimilation) in a new context is the act in “Identity and Construction” and the illustration of this merger. Salmon in a red space, flattened tableware and soda cans, island cemeteries for Chinese laborers of the past, family photos from different periods in Gu’s life, and of course, the whispers that accompany life’s movement inform poems that record his different moods. Therefore, this exhibition, which takes its name from the river, an important symbol in the artist’s work, could be seen as an endless theater of life with poems as the monologues. Guided by the river, this theater carries the gaze through the cycles of time, life, and art. A migrating school of salmon swims silently. In this theater of life, there are no performances; all that is left is persistence.

December 3, 2020


Installation Views