You I She He

Edie Xu

Performance Art
(10 mins recording of a performance art piece )


(New York)


你我她他, (“You I She He”) is a 30-minute performance piece about the paradigm relationship between the first person, second person, and third person––breaking down the perception and expectation cast upon you by others to accept the relationship between “you” and “yourself.” Are “you” living to impress or to stay true to yourself?

Edie Siyi Xu was born in New York in 2000. She is a current student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Experimenting with both performance art and installations, Xu is an innovative force among her generation of artists. Xu had her first major exhibition at Chambers Fine Art, Beijing, when she was only 13 years old.

“你我她他, “(“You I She He”) 2019, 10 mins recording of a performance art piece

Interview of Edie Xu

Your performance piece You I She He, suggests a nearly agonizing self-discovery, what inspired you?

I was inspired by the relationship that I had with people around me, including my family. During a low period of my life, I started to question myself and how easily I could be caught up by my surroundings and be blind when it comes to seeing my needs and wants. Through this piece, I wanted to address the relationship between you to the first person, you to the second person, and you to the third person and how these different narrative perspectives could blur the relationship between you and yourself.


Why use Baozi as the vessel for blood-like fluid and the centerpiece of this performance? Is it a metaphor for your cultural heritage as a Chinese descent?

Yes, the symbol of Baozi is an indication to myself and my cultural heritage. I was born in New York and moved to Beijing when I was nine years old. After that, I attended international schools. Being raised in a bilingual environment made me feel culturally lost at times. I felt contemplated between both cultures and questioned if I have a hometown. The frustration of ‘where are you from?’ made me think of my childhood foods—such as where I had my first soup dumpling/baozi and many more childhood food memories. The unraveling structure of Baozi also emphasizes the interior and exterior side of the self.

We are witnessing a surge in discrimination towards Asian people globally during this pandemic, as a New York-born Chinese artist, what is your take?

We should respect people from all backgrounds and cultures. We should show love to everyone, especially those whom you are close to. Learn to love, give love, and love yourself. Be giving and grateful.


Covid-19 has reshaped the structure of our entire world, as a young artist, what have you learned from this pandemic? How are you going to adapt to this new normal in terms of making art?

I believe the pandemic allowed us to take a step back to reflect, realize, and discover. The frustration of being in lockdown has been something that captivated animals have felt their entire lives and even worst, and it’s something we should take action on and change. In term of my artmaking, being isolated from the world and then going outside again made me view and observe things which I have not realized or paid much attention to. It’s nice seeing things from a different perspective.