Xu Ruotao was born in Shenyang, Liaoning in 1968, and he graduated from Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in 1991. He is an artist, director and independent video author.
He started painting and video creation in the Yuanmingyuan Artists’ Village in the early 1990s. After 2000, Xu has transformed his personal historical paintings into a painting style which negatively reproduces electronic graffiti that destroys and tampers with images. He has held solo exhibitions such as Retarded, Pattern Recognition, and Oxidation.
In 2009, Xu made the experimental feature film Rumination with the background of the Cultural Revolution. It was honored with special mentions at the Vancouver International Film Festival Dragons and Tigers Award.
Xu also collaborated with Xue Li to complete the short film Broken Line in the same year. Later, he completed the experimental documentary Expressionism in 2017.
In 2019, he worked with artist Wang Chuyu to complete the documentary Ants Dynamics about the rights protection of telecom workers in Shaanxi province. This film entered the New Asian Currents program at Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival.
A number of artists participated in the rights protection activities of workers of China Telecom in the form of performance art to support their decade-long struggle. As the investigation went on, various contradictions began to appear.