“Our raw awareness is never fixed, since it is always encountering something else. That’s very much like the experience of browsing online.”

Born 1983. Lives and works in Beijing

Guan Xiao sees contemporary visual culture as a crazy collage of images and perspectives, created, copied, adapted, altered, remixed and reproduced. In David (2013), she explores the effect of this cut-and-paste syndrome on a key icon of Western (and now global) art. Presenting David as a megastar, she combines cell-phone videos posted by “fans” online with images of David-themed products, to explore the proliferation and kitschification of Michelangelo’s sculpture. Lest viewers miss her message, subtitles make it clear: Once unviewable except at close quarters, David now seems to be everywhere—yet the very ubiquity of this masterpiece has rendered its true beauty invisible. Commerce, in other words, destroys the integrity of art.

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