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Print (MA)

Xander Zixuan Gu

Zixuan Gu (b. 1994) is a Chinese artist and printmaker based in London and China.

He graduated with a BA in Printmaking at Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in 2017, China.

He practices sculpture, book design, painting, installation work and moving image, often centred around touch, art therapy, and religion.

His works have previously been shown at CAFA Art Museum (China, 2017), Royal College of Art (the UK, 2020).

Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Print (MA)

Traces, touch and warmth have always been the themes of my artistic concern.The experience of working in elementary schools, educational institutions and psychological counselling centres made me pay attention to the parent-child relationship and wellbeing topics.


Most of my works are inspired by my childhood experience; I was born by c-section. My parents are psychological consultants. They understand that children who do not feel the squeeze of natural childbirth need to be stroked continuously to compensate for the lack of intimate feelings on the skin. Otherwise, the children are more likely to suffer from psychological problems in the future, such as insecurity and anxiety, or sensory integration dysfunction –e.g. lack of sense of space, allergies, poor coordination and delayed logical thinking ability and nail-biting. 


I remember when I was a kid, I sat on the baby potty and found a hole in my cotton-padded trousers, and then I kept pulling the cotton inside out. When I touch cotton, I feel joyful and safe. My parents didn't stop me but bought me a lot of medical cottons to play with. Therefore, until kindergarten, my mother would prepare a piece of soft cotton for me to hold in my clothes and stick to my belly every day, which could keep me at ease at any time and provide me with a strong sense of security. This piece of little cotton became an indispensable part of my happy childhood. 




Invisible Untouchable Unopenable (2021)
Invisible Untouchable Unopenable (2021)
Invisible Untouchable Unopenable (2021)
Invisible Untouchable Unopenable (2021)
Invisible Untouchable Unopenable (2021)

Endless past ends up with the present, while the present is the beginning of the endless future.


This work was done for a Publication Project. 

It is an openable box like a book. The symmetry of the edges and corners create a solemn and quiet feeling. Inside the wool, magnets are used to connect the lid and the base instead of any mechanical joint. When you open it, there is a sense of interaction, which comes from the confrontation of the magnetic force, which is like a box with vitality and an instinct that refuses to be opened. 

The front and back of the lid are the shape of the belly button and the scar from my previous works. 

On the other hand, I try to balance the metaphor of life and death through this piece because we are blessed with newborn life and afraid of death. It is a tiny fetus in the centre of the mother’s womb inside the box; on the contrary, the whole box is like a coffin.


Medium:

wool

Size:

10 x 15 x 9cm
Not the end (2021)
Not the end (2021)
Not the end (2021)
Not the end (2021)
Not the end (2021)
Not the end (2021)
Not the end (2021)
Not the end (2021)
Not the end (2021)
Not the end (2021)
Not the end (2021)

一切有形之物,皆由无形而生。

All tangible elements that we can touch and see are born from the intangible.


Medium:

wool

Size:

00:00:18
Not The Beginning (2021)
Not The Beginning (2021)
Not The Beginning (2021)
Not The Beginning (2021)

那些我们看不见的决定我们能看见什么。

Those we cannot see determine what we can see.


Medium:

wool
Tenderness No.1 (2021)
The detail of Tenderness No.1
The detail of Tenderness No.1

目之所及皆是温柔。

Everything you see is tenderness.

Medium:

wool

Size:

100 x 120 x 15cm
Tenderness No.2 (2021)
Tenderness No.2 (2021)
Tenderness No.2 (2021)

一层又一层,你就不会知道还有一颗石头在下面。

Layer by layer, you won't know there is a small rock underneath.

Medium:

wool

Size:

100 x 100 x 25cm
Untouchable No.1 (2021)
Untouchable No.2 (2021)
Untouchable No.3 (2021)
Untouchable No.4 (2021)
Untouchable No.5 (2021)
Untouchable No.6 (2021)
Untouchable No.7 (2021)
Untouchable No.8 (2021)
Untouchable No.9 (2021)

All the objects seem to have the same texture when looking through the plastic, but the shape and hardness are different. The gloves create a strong sense of isolation, making me feel squeezed by space, an invisible wall, and gradually lose my tactility.

Medium:

wool, scanner, hands, disposable glove
Below 40 ℃ (2021)
Below 40 ℃ (2021)
Below 40 ℃ (2021)
Below 40 ℃ (2021)
Below 40 ℃ (2021)

When the temperature rises, you will melt, but I will feel warm.


Wax and wool have many similar qualities.

In terms of colour and texture, they both have a natural sense of warm temperature.

Meanwhile, they can complement each other well. 

When I carved mould, I left traces on the surface, which looked like skin, tree barks, the ripples in water. 


Medium:

wool, wax

Size:

27 x 14 x 13cm
Touchable No.1 (2020)
Touchable No.2 (2020)
Touchable No.3 (2020)
Touchable No.4 (2020)
Touchable No.5 (2020)

This work I made during lockdown is named "touchable", mostly inspired by the picture of a 4D colour ultrasound of the fetus. Fetal photography is popular in China and becoming a phenomenon in recent years. 

The public hospitals in China do not allow to inform pregnant women and their families of the gender of the fetus, which is to avoid abortion caused by the tradition of preferring boys in some underdeveloped areas. However, after the photographing in some private clinics, small gifts are given with the photos, such as tiny socks and clothes for the babies. If it is a boy, parents will receive blue ones; it is a girl, then pink ones. Because it is illegal, many families still spend a lot of money in the clinic to check the gender and appearance of the fetus. It is sad for me to see so many ultrasound pictures of the fetus on the Internet. 

When I first saw these pictures and realized there are non-medical implications, I was shocked by the overcontrolling parents. Therefore, I made these maquettes with wool. I photograph them with this lighting to try and create a quiet atmosphere. As a result, the soft material removes the stiff feeling from ultrasound pictures and makes it looks warm and lovely.


Medium:

wool
Lanugo No.1 (2020)
Lanugo No.2 (2020)
Lanugo No.3 (2020)
Lanugo No.4 (2020)

Some people use childhood memory to heal their whole lives; 

some people use their entire lives to heal their childhood. 


This series of works is inspired by my childhood experience; I was born by c-section. My parents are psychological consultants. They understand that children who do not feel the squeeze of natural childbirth need to be stroked continuously to compensate for the lack of intimate feelings on the skin. Otherwise, the children are more likely to suffer from psychological problems in the future, such as insecurity and anxiety, or sensory integration dysfunction –e.g. lack of sense of space, allergies, poor coordination and delayed logical thinking ability and nail-biting. 


I remember when I was a kid, I sat on the baby closestool and found a hole in my cotton-padded trousers, and then I kept pulling the cotton inside out. When I touch cotton, I feel joyful and safe. My parents didn't stop me but bought me a lot of medical cottons to play with. Therefore, until kindergarten, my mother would prepare a piece of soft cotton for me to hold in my clothes and stick to my belly every day, which could keep me at ease at any time and provide me with a strong sense of security. This piece of little cotton became an indispensable part of my happy childhood. 


To explore deeper, I did some research on c-section.


By the time of 2018, I acknowledge that the proportion of c-section in China was 46.2%, while the WHO suggests that the maximum proportion should be 15%. Also, some parents choose a lucky day to give birth to a baby by c- section worldwide. However, parents who choose c-section do not always provide their children with adequate companionship and care. 


Therefore, I want to draw the audiences’ attention to life itself through my works. Instead of treating children as offspring of a family, I hope that parents can treat their children as individuals. 

Medium:

cotton, wool sheet

Size:

10 x 15cm