In 2003, she started exhibiting her work, first in October 2003 with N12, a circle of twelve young artists who had all been graduates of the Central Academy. The exhibition was N12 New Painting-No.1 held at the Art Museum of the Central Academy. This was followed by N12 New Painting-No 2 in the following year. She was then selected for the 12th Documenta in Kassel in 2007, directed by Roger M. Buergel in collaboration with Ruth Noack. This led to a series of exhibitions in Europe and Asia.
Hu Xiaoyuan has been collaborating in one-person and group exhibitions with Beijing Commune since 2010. She participated in a group exhibition, The Ungovernables at the New Museum Triennial in New York in 2012 and then with Duan Jianyu in A Potent Force at the Rockbund Art Gallery, Shanghai in 2013. This was followed by her participation in various group shows, such as in 2014: My Generation: Young Chinese Artists, Tampa Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, St.Petersburg, Florida; Focus Beijing: De Heus-Zomer Collection, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Inside, Palais de Tokyo, Paris and in 2015: My Generation: Young Chinese Artists, Orange County Museum of Art Orange County, U.S.