Artist Spotlight: Guan Xiao & Yu Honglei


We continue to believe in the investment potential of contemporary art in China. Rather than investing only in established artists, we spend much of our time researching the younger generation. Two promising young artists, Guan Xiao and Yu Honglei – China's new art world power couple – have achieved great strides in their work and quickly established themselves in the international contemporary art scene. We proudly dedicate this spotlight to them.

Guan Xiao 

Born in 1983 in the province of Chongqing, China, Guan Xiao currently lives and works in Beijing. Having received a BA in Directing from the Communication University of China in 2006, the artist primarily uses video and sculpture, along with various cultural artifacts, to engage her audience. Xiao is most known for her use of extreme visual language as a method of fully conveying her artistic conceptions and vibrant individuality to her viewers.

The Tiroche DeLeon Collection acquired "The Documentary: Geometric Puncture” (2012), by Guan Xiao from Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, at the 2014 edition of ABC- Art Berlin Contemporary.

This colorful work exemplifies Xiao's individual aesthetic. Through a flawless fusion of mediums she contrasts massive digital vinyl prints with ancient totems and several camera lenses on tripods. As with many of her projects, the artist powerfully portrays her views on society's use of technology today. The viewer's focus is drawn towards the prints' vibrant hues and patterns, easily overshadowing the presence of the ancient totems. 

Guan Xiao, The Documentary: Geometric Puncture, 2012

Guan Xiao, The Documentary: Geometric Puncture, 2012

Xiao's placement of cameras within the piece is a comment on our culture's inclination to absorb the beauty of our surroundings through technology.  Our material world is altered regularly through media outlets, thus inevitably affecting our experience of reality. For Xiao, society is dangerously dependent on the virtual world. Her work eloquently raises our awareness to the consequences of using technology as a platform for communication.

After the Tiroche DeLeon Collection acquired this extraordinary work, it was immediately selected by the New Museum, NY for its 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience exhibition. Along with "The Documentary: Geometric Puncture” the Tiroche DeLeon Collection also acquired "Action" (2014), featured at ICA in London and later at Moscow Museum of Modern Art. Her work was most recently exhibited at K11 Art Foundation in Shanghai – Guan Xiao: Elastic Sleep. We look forward to her forthcoming projects including Art Basel Hong Kong in March 2017 and participation in "Viva Arte Viva", the main exhibition of the 57th Venice Biennale curated by Christine Macel.

More of Xiao's recent solo exhibitions include: Weather Forecast, CAPC, Bordeaux and Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2016; Basic Logic, Antenna Space, Shanghai, 2015; Something Happened Like Never Happened, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin, 2014; Something Always Happens Keeps Happening, Art Berlin Contemporary, 2014. 

Yu Honglei

Yu Honglei, born in Inner Mongolia in 1984, began his formal art education in 1998, and moved to Beijing in 2000 to continue his studies. Nominated as one of Artsy's most promising artists in 2016, Honglei represents a new approach to sculpture and video art in China. The artist is most known for skillfully combining processes of fabrication, appropriation, and techniques of repetition and placement in order to highlight the dialectical relationship between ideas, form, and the fragile nature of objects. 

Tiroche DeLeon Collection's most recent Honglei acquisition is "Black Dragon River" (2016) from Antenna Space. This piece is one of a series of panels in a florescent shade of blue on which lies a meticulously carved crane.

Yu Hongeli, Black Dragon River, 2016

Yu Hongeli, Black Dragon River, 2016

The delicate creature's neck twists and turns sharply as if to contain itself within the panel frame. The crane is paired with a showerhead streaming vibrant strings of cascading blue beads. This combination of sculptures transforms exhibition spaces into enchanting bath houses – connecting day-to-day objects with ancient mythology.  

Currently residing in Beijing, Honglei has attracted much attention and support in both the national and international contemporary art scenes. Since his first solo exhibition in 2011, Honglei's work has been featured in multiple prestigious events such as Frieze London, FIAC, ART021, and the upcoming Art Basel Hong Kong. His most recent solo exhibition Swallow's Century was held at Antenna Space in Shanghai and received glowing reviews from critics and collectors.

His recent solo exhibitions include: Sketch, Telescope, Beijing, 2015; Fat Mouse, Antenna Space, Shanghai, 2014; Everything Is Extremely Important: There Is Nothing That Will Not Come Back Again, Magician Space, Beijing, 2013. His recent group exhibitions include: Shifting Optics III, Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam, 2016; TUTORIALS – Moving images and instructions for use from China, Museo Pino Pascali, Polignano, Italy, 2016; Des Hôtes: a Foreigner, a Human, an Unexpected Visitor, Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, 2015; 28 Chinese: Rubell Family Collection, San Antonio Museum of Art, Texas, 2015; The System of Objects, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, 2015; New Works, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, 2014; Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, Shenzhen, 2012; + Follow, MoCA Shanghai, Shanghai, 2011.

More works by Yu Honglei in the Tiroche DeLeon Collection: