徐冠宇 Guanyu Xu (b.1993 Beijing) is an artist currently based in Chicago and a lecturer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Influenced by the production of ideology in American visual culture and a conservative familial upbringing in China, Xu’s practice extends from examining the production of power in photography to the question of personal freedom and its relationship to political regimes. He negotiates this from the perspective as a Chinese gay man. In his work, Xu migrates between mediums like photography, new media, and installation. These movements operate similarly to his displaced and fractured identity.
He is the recipient of the Chicago DCASE Artist Grant (2022), CENTER Development Grant (2021), Hyéres International Festival Prize (2020), PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai Exposure Award (2020), Philadelphia Photo Arts Center Annual Competition (2019), Lensculture Emerging Talent Award (2019), and Kodak Film Photo Award (2019). He has received artist residencies including ACRE (Chicago, IL), Light Work (Syracuse, NY), and Latitude (Chicago, IL). His works have been exhibited and screened internationally including the Aperture Foundation, New York; International Center of Photography, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; New Orlean Museum of Art, New Orleans; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Wesleyan University, Middletown; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Mint Museum, Charlotte; 36th Kasseler Dokfest, Germany, and others. His work can be found in public collections including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums, Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago, and New Orleans Museum of Art. His works have been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, ArtAsiaPacific, The New Yorker, W Magazine, Harper's Magazine, Dazed, and China Photographic Publishing House.