Artist Profile: Huijun Guan

"As long as the earth rotates, we can not stop investigating" Emerging digital artist, Huijun Guan (or Guan Huijun in her native form) tells us about her recent works and influences

A digital native of China, artist ‘Gee’ - as she's affectionately called in the UK - kindly let us in on her recent works and inspirations.


"Edified" by her father, the emerging Chinese artist is based in London and recently exhibited at and curated, ‘Digital Meze’ – an exhibition that represented the wide and varied approach that artists take when engaging with contemporary digital culture.


About her inspirations she says " father is a doctor, but he really loves art and collecting art pieces”. Before digital art she created traditional Chinese and oil paintings. But, she says, “with my curiosity and courage, I went to Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts. I spent four years there. I found that it was interesting to use newer mediums and technology to create installations."


During that period she experimented with lots of different types of mediums, including video, interactive and mechanical installations.


“When I started my course here in London I changed to focus on one theme and concept. I feel really thankful for my tutor Jonathan. He always told us the working process is the most important part among the whole creation – whatever you learn from a piece of work, it could always be useful for your next piece. He said to keep making artwork and think deeply”.


It's difficult to expain or appreciate the detail of Gee’s artworks unless you see them n person, but attempting to describe them she says that they explore the relationship between narrow space and her self.


“The audience will be able to see my work in different points of view. I hope when they will see my work. They might feel a similar feeling along with me. They will be a part of my art. I really enjoy observing how people view my work; it’s like a movie or a performance for me.


Instead of the normal viewing way, I produce the tiny world for myself. Look at my present piece, ‘Itself'. It explores the relationship between narrow space and myself.


Being over 1,324 miles away from my home in China, I associate myself with a fish that may at times feel and seem to roam freely, but on the other hand is trapped by its circumstances, even underwater.


I believe that just like fish, human beings are trapped by the earth, and the earth is therefore trapped by the universe and so forth. In this work, I would like to depict the connection between water, fish, buildings and the female figure. 


We say women are made by water in traditional Chinese allusion. In my world they are exquisite, like fish living in water. The relationship between them is fantastic and mysterious. Fish have the ability to make my whole work more vivid.”


In her real life she says, "there is always something impossible to achieve." 


In her last work, ‘Once upon a time’, the real object symbolises the real things appearing in her daily life, whereas the overlapped virtual images that the viewer is able to observe, means that in some way she is able to achieve her aspirations, as in a dream.


“However, a dream is still a dream - I have to go back to the reality.”


Moving past her graduation show and into the reality of the future, Guan already took on a temporary position, working with the curation team at the Lumen Prize. Yet she continues to make digital art and curate her own events in London. And she hopes to take her explorations forward into new collaborative installation projects, working with talented coders and to build on her current projects.


“I’ll keep creating digital art pieces as an artist, combining female figures and architecture. I hope to somehow create and build interactive elements into my current works.”