Xiujie Bi


Mixed Media
Art Installation

Using the forms of clothing, Xiujie Bi explores different stages of identities of Chinese student immigrants in the United States. Highly affected by her personal experience as an immigrant, she finds that lots of others like her are going through the same struggles of finding one’s’ true identity due to the drastic change of cultures between their homeland and America. During the discovery of materiality in Integrative Studio, Xiujie finds it engaging to work with conceptual elements through a variety of conventional material. Inspired by Robert Rauschenberg, she adopts the technique of transferring images onto plexiglass and using transparent effects into her work to express the interdependent and interactive relationships between culture and identity.

Used to be a traditional painter, Xiujie challenges herself to experiment with conceptual style. She found her interests in immigrants and their identity through her observational reflections in Integrative Seminar. Her studies of the psychological and environmental changes during the course of migration gave her guides to create this work which is not only intimate to herself, but also reflects other immigrants’ experiences. After studying about the reading “Medium is the Message” from Seminar class, she found that materiality is also a crucial element to the content. Xiujie incorporates the choices of materials as a part of her concepts. On different layers, there are pictures of interviewees’ childhood, precious item that they brought with them, and durians, the alien and the unacceptable one of the fruits as a metaphor. Colors of pictures change from black and white to colored indicates the passage of time. Engraved with handwritten responses which, are physical representations of identities, the three pieces of clothing made out of plexiglass symbolizes the stories before, during, and after settling down in America. Combining the tank top, outer shirt, and the pant, the outfit not only covers and secures oneself, but at the same time shows characteristics and diversity of oneself which in this case, is the unique, the one and only identity of oneself. The transparency and hardness of the plexiglass allows viewers to peak into the insecurities of immigrants and at the same time, serves as a hard shield, preventing viewers from entering and understanding their true selves.
Xiujie’s work directly reflects her personal experience, as well as ones of many others that are just like her in her uni

versity. She is interested in the psychological side of human and how it can shift and change according to the outer environment. Instead of using traditional materials such as paints and graphite, she picks up conventional materials such as yarns, hangers, and tubes to create mixed medias. By showcasing the characteristics of the materials with its symbolic meanings, Xiujie’s work delivers feelings of lost, depressing, and growing.  The viewers are encouraged to walk around the piece and really absorb the little details and narratives.