Yiquan Gu (Cullen) is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in the medium of metal, ceramics, and mixed-media performative practice. Many of Cullen's works deal with the nature of his identity in which he refers to himself as an urban nomad living, immersing, camouflaging, and adapting in three metropolitan cities: Beijing, Boston, and London.
In Cullen's visual repertoire, the human body remains one of the significant and most frequently recurring elements, regardless of its presence or absence: he usually does this by actively encouraging the audience to interact with his work or using the human body as a reference and metaphor to create an emotional appeal. Cullen rarely comments on purely political issues and social problems but believes individual voices can be transferable and reflective, transcending narratives. Thus he is no longer narrating the voice of an individual but rather everyone who feels the same, or anyone he could have imagined.
It is hard to define Cullen as entirely an experimental/process-based artist, but he enjoys material experiments alongside his research practice. Aiming to create a dialogue through his work, Cullen weaves narratives and critiques into facts, hoping the audience will initiate deeper conversations beyond discussing the phenomenological experience. In this sense, he supports interpretations and readings of techniques and concepts equally instead of separating them.
At the RCA, Cullen has been working on building identities in a new environment. His most recent work in the graduate show demonstrates the dilemmatic contrast between AI-related technologies and human-made ‘craft’ that foreshadows the role of humans and technology after the emergence of ChatGPT.