Gu Xiong: Rethinking Cultural transformation

All cultures are complex, but the one into which you are born is the one you come to understand most profoundly. Thus, this influence is what finds its way into the work of an artist and, I believe, is expressed almost instinctively. If a person should move to another culture, he or she must make both a conscious and instinctive adjustment in seeking to understand what at first is a strange new world. It is within this dynamic milieu that I have found myself. This conflict of cultures in my work is in a state of constant evolution. It is a continuous generation of ‘artistic electricity’ that fuels change in both my personal life and my work as a contemporary artist.

Through the years, the direction of my research has centred on the creation of a hybrid cultural identity. Cultural conflict erupts when the individual and society undergo a process of change. A new cultural identity is born as individuals reconstitute themselves through their own cultural practice. My research always draws on the critical angle of visual art as a point of departure, and then encompasses other areas of knowledge such as sociology, geography, economics, politics and literature. I addresses integration and assimilation, histories both collective and personal, and cultural synthesis across boundaries. My art seeks to delve into the dynamics of globalization, local culture and individual shifts in identity, and rethink the space of global culture flows.

Theses shifts do not merely constitute a simple amalgamation of two original subjects, but instead, seek to create an entirely new space. Alone and isolated from its birth, this new individual identity is nevertheless open and free. Visible and invisible global forces of social and cultural homogenization have inherited the world. In this environment, individual spaces embody the seeds of difference and alterity. It is the construction of this new level of being in which I am interested. My art expresses this process through my own life experience of displacement and rebirth in Canada.

– Gu Xiong, 2016