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2020 SPE Annual Conference: Hosted by The University of Houston | Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts | School of Art

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Guanyu Xu

SPE Member since 2016
Member Chapter: Midwest

2016 Caucus Application Portfolio

One Land To Another

My photographic work interrogate issues of homophobia, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and political ideology.

I was born and raised in a conservative family in Beijing. The prevailing cultural norms necessitated that my sexuality remain hidden. It was not until my arrival to the the United States in the spring of 2014 that I could finally have courage to reveal this secret. The suppression of my identity and the viewing of American films planted an ‘American dream’ in my head during my teenage years. However, I have now come to realize that this perception was not entirely accurate. Due to the history of anti-Chinese sentiments, problematic stereotypes of Asians and the dominance of white, macho gay, I became an “undesirable alien” in this “land of freedom”.

I draw from personal narratives to create images with ambiguous content: The question of the murderer in the self-portraits of my death, the juxtaposition of hope and apathy in my landscapes, and the performative relationships in my portraits with other men. They interrogate the traditional representation.

The self-portraits of my death not only expresses the inequality of gay men in this world, but also reveals my self-denying and self-hating under the homophobic society, which includes both China and U.S. My photographs of people that I find through the online dating apps expose my current situation with other gay men in the States. I examine the racism and discrimination in the white-dominated gay world, the worship of masculine whiteness and the pervasive misogyny. My landscapes of America document paths to finding a utopian space further complicated by my changing of geographical location as well as psychological movement.

I offer my queerness, displacement, anxiety and longing for utopia to destabilize the traditional norms in terms of race, sexuality and ideology.

Sea (Lake Michigan)

Bon Voyage

Death in Bathtub

Blind Massage

Untitled

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