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Photography (MA)

Xiner Xu

Xiner Xu (b.1996 Hangzhou, China) is an artist now traveling between Hangzhou, London and Paris. Her work opens up conversations between family and identity, memory and its opposites. After graduating from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2019 with a dual degree in Graphic Design and Photography, she continues her photographic practices at the Royal College of Art. She is interested in the representation of trees and how trees could possibly remind us of time and reveal intimacy entangled with human affairs. 

Recently, Xiner together with Bowei Yang, Ruijing Ge, Weilian Zou and Chao Zhang are opening up the "cusp.", a fresh alternative space in Hangzhou, China, mainly focusing on image-based art practitioners. They provide opportunities for emerging artists, produce talks of art books and perform their opinions on understanding images.

Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Photography (MA)
Xiner Xu

My practice investigates growth, identity and the meaning of home through analogy between the time of nature and the time of human endeavor. I intend to investigate my ability as a photographer to inflect what appears to be a straightforward document from the real world with individual meaning through evanescent moments of the trivial, ordinary.

Nature represents both the outside field and the nature instincts. Within my work, trees are living entities but also become a portrait of myself, alike a portrait of a teenager growing up in a blended family. My works reflect the confusion or estrangement from my family, whilst scaffold being an allegory of home, which refers to both the supports and constraints from family.

Exploiting the possible union of opposites between the body of trees and the scaffolds, I attempt to re-examine and understand how I could integrate with my family, like the tree gently touching on the facade, or the wintersweet flowers attempting to grow from the mattress.

 Untitled, 2021.
Untitled, 2021. — Photographic Giclée print, 30.4x38cm.
Soft touch, 2020.
Soft touch, 2020. — Photographic Giclée print, 30x24cm.
In Between, 2020.
In Between, 2020. — Digital silver print, 72x59.3cm.
Installation view 01.
Installation view 01.
Two eternals, pergola and the maple tree., 2020.
Two eternals, pergola and the maple tree., 2020. — Digital silver print, 50x40cm;
The pinned butterfly, 2021.
The pinned butterfly, 2021. — Photographic Giclée print, 50x40cm.
The scattered foliage, 2021.
The scattered foliage, 2021. — Photographic Giclée print, 50x45cm.
The summer trees, 2021.
The summer trees, 2021. — Photographic Giclée print, 20x25cm.
Installation view 02.
Installation view 02.
Wrinkled reverie, stuck wintersweet dreams. (2021)
Wrinkled reverie, stuck wintersweet dreams. (2021)

In ‘Wrinkled reverie, stuck wintersweet dreams’ Xiner evokes internalized memories of home. Beds are particularly private yet public items of fantasy as they hold the imprint of bodies and dreams. Memories are like petri dishes hidden under the sheets and individuals are being cultivated and brewed in the mattress grid. The wrinkles on the sheets shrouded the traces of the past, as if it were a river of memory, flowing towards the inevitable death.


Edition of 4 + 2AP; Photographic Giclée print, image size 75x56.8cm.