Documentary of Agriculture: Breeding (detail), 2019

Guan Xiao
Documentary of Agriculture: Breeding (detail), 2019
Printed vinyl, fibreglass, C-stands, steel, TV stand, speakers, crystal resin; 250 x 450 x 180 cm (approx)
Installation view: Art in the Age of Anxiety, Sharjah Art Foundation, 2020
Courtesy of the artist; Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin; and Antenna Space, Shanghai
Photo: Danko Stjepanovic


Guan Xiao is a multi-media artist working primarily with video and sculpture. She is known for her installations based on references from ancient Eastern and Western traditions and contemporary popular culture as well as her comparisons of the future and the past, and the crude and the high-tech. Her visuals guide the viewers' eyes through a journey of shapes and colours, touching on feelings of raw tenderness, repulsion and déjà vu. A sense of mystery pervades her work as she examines emotional engagement in an age in which the media can be overwhelmed with the openness the internet provides.

In Documentary of Agriculture: Breeding (2019), Guan Xiao interprets farming and agriculture as science-fiction-like practices that have been developed to understand and shape nature around us. Populating the vast backdrop are images generated from spectral-spatial technology, an algorithmic system that creates different categories of crops in aerial imaging. A family of animal figures derive their forms from jaguar-shaped stone mortars that were used for traditional snuff rituals and burials in ancient Ecuadorian culture. Extending the reference to the ancient and generational nature of breeding technology, the artist places models of dinosaur bones inside the mortars. She aims to trace the mythological and trans historical understanding of breeding, through which the production and reproduction of images and shapes can suggest new life forms.

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Documentary of Agriculture: Breeding (2019)

Xiao, Guan

Multi-media artist Guan Xiao primarily works with video and sculpture.