Instead of ink on paper, Xu Bing has placed plant fibers, hemp, paper and other debris against a frosted glass screen, backlit to transform these ordinary materials into something majestic. However, things are not as they first seem - Book from the Sky is, in fact, a collection of meaningless glyphs, imagined characters created by the artist to trick the viewer. In 2004, Xu Bing embarked in a new direction, moving away from his language-based works with a series, titled Background Story, of mixed-media installations. Erickson, a specialist on contemporary Chinese art, elucidates clearly Bing's iconoclastic and irreverent work, relating it to themes Bing has used elsewhere in his career. A second Chinese-language publication will be produced in collaboration with YT Pictures, entitled Art 101: Xu Bing. "Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China," December 9, 2013–April 6, 2014 The owners of Château Mouton Rothschild, Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, Camille Sereys de Rothschild and Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, commissioned the label for the 2018 vintage from the Chinese artist and writer Xu Bing (b. The owners of Bordeaux first-growth Château Mouton-Rothschild—Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, Camille Sereys de Rothschild and Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild—have unveiled the label for the 2018 vintage, created by contemporary Chinese artist and writer Xu Bing. This, states Charlie Bennett of Aesthetica, points to a certain frustration with contemporary consumer culture, and recognition that "companies are creating a global, visual language but they also do very little to offset the anxieties of modern life. For the Chinese audience in particular, Xu's Book from the Sky is profoundly disorientating. Installation of books and scrolls printed from carved wood types of invented characters, ink on paper, dimensions variable. Find an in-depth biography, exhibitions, original artworks for sale, the latest news, and sold auction prices. Unfortunately, the developers were not pleased with the artist's choice of materials, and underlying social critique, and refused to accept the finished work. The artwork for the 2018 label reflects the artist’s work on the illusory splendour of appearances as manifested by his Square … "And of course," he explains in a 2017 interview for Musée magazine, "facial identification is very important in this film, it [is] involved with identity confusions, about what we can or cannot see, about how we can identify the essence. One of the most important contemporary Chinese artists working today, Xu Bing investigates the limitations and corruptibility of language by creating artworks that put words to absurd ends, sometimes fabricating nonsense languages that seem persuasive on first glance, other time bringing Chinese characters to inert life as sculpture. Xu Bing joins the ranks of Picasso, Warhol, and Hockney with his 2018 label. "When I discovered Xu Bing, I was captivated by him as an inventor of signs endowed with … Xu Bing: Tobacco Project explores the production and culture of tobacco as seen through the eyes of one of China’s most innovative contemporary artists.The exhibition combines important pieces from the artist’s earlier projects at Duke University in North Carolina and the Shanghai Gallery of Art in China with new work inspired by visits to tobacco farms, warehouses, and … The work is a massive installation of hundreds of volumes and scrolls printed with 4,000 imagined Chinese characters, which … New York. A fictional thriller, Dragonfly Eyes is a feature-length film, but created using no crew, props or actors. However, his meticulous positioning and stylistic play with the letters has rendered words into the square shapes which characterize the aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy, with the works speaking "to the problems [he] encountered in a foreign country" Still affected by the linguistic upheavals of the Cultural Revolution, Bing here explores our perception of language further, whilst incorporating his experiences with learning English. Users can enter words either in English or in Chinese, and the program will translate them into Xu Bing's lexicon of signs. Xu Bing. View Xu Bing’s 394 artworks on artnet. First realized in the form of a 604-page, 4-volume book, Xu Bing replicated its content to become an immersive installation piece. In this newest phase of artistic experimentation, Xu Bing poses an unnerving question that plagues contemporary post-industrial societies: Who is watching us? The small, 112-page book is simply designed, with rows of arrows and symbols leading the reader through a day in the life of "Mr. Black," a generic character who fits neither generational nor cultural categories. Co-presented by the Smart Museum of Art … Exhibited "Book from the Sky: a work by Xu Bing" PUAM, February 15-May 18 (extended to July 14), 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lying in contrast to the humble origins of its components, the Phoenix pair is traditionally a symbol of union between male and female, the yin and yang. Metallic debris from construction sites - Mass MoCA, Massachusetts, USA, Since 2008, Bing has experimented with increasingly less traditional methods and materials of communication. Xu Bing is among a generation of artists, including Ai Weiwei and Gu Wenda, who experienced the Cultural Revolution first hand during their youth and transmitted that experience through their art. The exhibition explores how conscious material choice has become a means of expression for Chinese contemporary artists working over the last four decades. How are our actions and behavior perceived? Excuse  Me  Sir,Can  You  Tell  Me  the  Way  to  Asia  Society? In 2012, he published Book from the Ground, an oppositional treatise from Book from the Sky (1987), instead of a book that nobody could read, Xu Bing created a book for everyone. - Xu Bing The long respected conceptual artist Xu Bing is multifaceted in talent and ideas. The Allure of Matter brings together works, many monumental in scale, that draw on a range of unique and humble materials, from plastic to water, ash, hair, and silk. Bing's latest work continues to comment on a rapidly changing society but moves far beyond traditional artistic media. The illusionistic works challenge the viewer's perception. In 2008, Bing received a commission to create a sculptural installation for the World Financial Centre in Beijing, then in its initial stages of construction. Xu Bing is a Chinese contemporary artist, born in 1955 in Chongqing, China. One of his best-known works, Book from the Sky (1987–1991), earned Xu international recognition in the 1980s. Creating a film from pre-existing surveillance footage, Xu Bing takes a critical look at the power of the state, focusing on surveillance and mass viewing instead of linguistic propaganda or barriers. One of my favorite artworks is Xu Bing’s 1st Class (2011), a rug made from half-a-million cigarettes.They stand leaning against each other on the floor to form a 40-by-15-foot “tiger pelt,” the stripes changing from tobacco-brown to filter-orange as you move around the piece. Xu Bing [Chinese, born in 1955] Guide to pictures of works by Xu Bing in art museum sites and image archives worldwide. This inherent critique of surveillance evokes his youth in Maoist China, where public and private behaviors were scrutinized. After visiting for initial research, however, Xu Bing was not inspired, but appalled by the disparity of the wealth of the buildings and the working conditions for the migrant laborers, many of whom lived on the site. One of his best-known works, Book from the Sky (1987–1991), earned Xu international recognition in the 1980s. Xu grew up in Beijing, where he began his studies in the printmaking department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1977. Pioneering Chinese contemporary artist Xu Bing creates powerful, poignant mixed-media installations, in which he subverts systems of language, upending expectations and perception. However, instead of frustration with the dichotomies of language, Xu expresses a desire for harmony in his Square Word Calligraphy. The owners of Château Mouton Rothschild, Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, Camille Sereys de Rothschild and Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, commissioned the label for the 2018 vintage from the Chinese artist and writer Xu Bing (b. Chinese Printmaker, Calligrapher, Installation Artist and Filmmaker, Made up of 4,000 hand-carved and printed characters, Book from the Sky remains Xu Bing's most iconic work to date. Despite the use of decayed and rusting materials, the pair is graceful and dignified, soaring above the viewer as embodiments of both historical and contemporary Chinese ideals. At first glance, and to anyone who cannot read Chinese script, the pages appear simply as an elegant example of traditional Chinese calligraphy, evoking the richness and sophistication of China's long literary history. He also reflects on the generational differences which have gradually de-valued materials and objects over time, stating that his mother "hesitates to throw away even the smallest things," but that now our 'throwaway culture' means much of what could be useful goes to waste. When approached from the front, the work appears as if the artist has mounted a large-scale monochromatic, traditional Chinese landscape painting on a light box. ", Print on paper - Eslite Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan. Fascinated with visual and written languages, Xu builds mixed-media installations that simultaneously evoke and subvert centuries-old Chinese cultural traditions, such as calligraphy, wood-block printing, and landscape painting scrolls. The  Foolish  Old  Man  Who  Tried  to  Remove  the  Mountain, Landscripts  from  the  Himalayan  Journal, American  Silkworm  Series  4:  Silkworm  VCR, American  Silkworm  Series  3:  The  Opening, An  introduction  to  Square  Word  Calligraphy, American  Silkworm  Series  1:  Silkworm  Books. This installation comprises a set of 4 hand-printed books, as well as wall and ceiling scrolls printed in the style of a wood letterpress. In 1999, Xu Bing was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of his “capacity to contribute importantly to society, particularly in printmaking and calligraphy.” In 2015, he was awarded the 2014 Department of State-Medal of Arts for his efforts to promote cultural understanding through his artworks. Focusing on drawing and printmaking, Xu earned a BA in 1981, as well as an MFA in 1987. After years of preparation, he created Square Word Calligraphy, which he often calls New English Calligraphy as he transforms English words nearly beyond recognition in the style of Chinese characters. From the front, the piece very much resembles a traditional Shan Shui (Landscape) scroll painting, with images of mountains, trees, and rivers. ©2021 The Art Story Foundation. "Brush and Ink: The Chinese Art of Writing," September 2, 2006–January 21, 2007. Xu Bing wanted to hang the recycled birds from the immaculate and architecturally magnificent building in order to create contrast and raise ideas regarding the schism between wealth and labour. Britta Erickson, "Mistrust of Language and the Book from the Sky" in her Words Without Meaning, Meaning Without Words: The Art of Xu Bing (Seattle: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and University of Washington Press, 2001), p. 33–45. The work is a massive installation of hundreds of volumes and scrolls printed with 4,000 imagined Chinese characters, which … Xu Bing actively encouraged input from the laborers and he, or rather they, turned the discarded into the majestic, using metals and debris sourced at numerous sites across China into a pair of towering sculptures of the mythic phoenixes, one reaching 100-feet in length, and the other 90 feet, with a combined weight of 12 tons. The Foolish Old Man Who Tried to Remove ... Background  Story:  Landscape  After  Huang  Gongwang, Background  Story:  Returning  Late  from  a  Spring  Outing, Background  Story:  Dwelling  in  the  Peach  Blossom  Valley, Background  Story:  Spring  Clouds  and  Layered  Peaks, Square  Word  Calligraphy:  Three  Indonesian  Proverbs, Square  Word  Calligraphy:  El  bon  poble, A  Case  Study  of  Transference:  Times  Overlap, Background  Story  -  Old  Trees,  Level  Distance, Background  Story:  Shangfang  Temple  Scroll, Background  Story:  Blue  and  Green  Landscape, Background  Story:  Landscape  after  Wu  Zhen, Background  Story:  Landscape  Painted  on  the  Double  Ninth  Festival, Book  from  the  Ground  -  Studio  Installation. Linguistically, he creates a new form of writing, which on a personal level helped him to understand English as a new lexicon, though on a larger scale could help others to dilute the perceived distances between the West and East. The second edition hangs in four strands and each strand had to be reconfigured. It exemplifies the intrusive and omnipresent culture of surveillance that exists, across not only China but across the globe. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Xu Bing. Xu Bing: El Pozo de la Verdad/The Well of Truth. His artwork “The Book from the Sky” was an arrangement of large pieces of paper, which appeared to be covered in Chinese calligraphy, but in fact were meaningless symbols. Xu Bing has successfully built his international reputation as one of the leading Chinese avant-garde artists for his custom-designed Chinese calligraphy and other well-received series. Xu Bing accompanied the ART in Embassies team to Beijing to installat the second edition of “Monkeys Grasping for the Moon” in 2008. Dan Cameron, former curator at the New Museum, explains: "the use of time-honored techniques to teach people a new way to write in English might be taken as an homage to a venerated tradition." He is known for his printmaking skills and installation art, as well as his creative artistic use of language, words, and text and how they have affected our understanding of the world. In a second version a year later, he replaced the Chinese characters with the English dictionary definition for bird. Instead of turning away, the artist used the project as an opportunity for transformation. As the work was reinstalled in the fall of 2018 for a major retrospective for Xu Bing, the monumental work was described as defining the post-Mao period in China, "it evokes the doubt - that old and cherished signifiers had lost their referents - that prevailed among intellectuals in post-reform China, many of whom pored over the work, obsessively looking for a single, real character. The viewer must confront and overcomes their initial assumptions over the course of experiencing this work, as the transition from the front to the rear of the piece takes us from what is known and recognizable to a wholly unexpected understanding of its essence. Using simple pictograms, currently in popular and public usage across the world, his book is, theoretically, universally understandable. Find artworks by Xu Bing (Chinese, 1955) on MutualArt and find more works from galleries, museums and auction houses worldwide. The wall panels, hanging scrolls and books which create the space conjure an atmosphere of almost religious sanctity and safety, with the whiteness of the paper evoking a purity of spirit, and their neat rows of black print permeate an aura of authority and knowledge. Film - Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, USA, Content compiled and written by Amy McCaffrey, Edited and revised, with Summary and Accomplishments added by Molly Enholm. May 20, 2014 - Explore Idmen Liu's board "Xu Bing", followed by 2449 people on Pinterest. The book is the first in YT’s “Art 101” series, which centers on a set of questions posed to artists, helping them to relate better, and be more relatable, to readers. This complicated installation required a complete reworking as the first edition hangs in one chain. Xu Bing was born in 1955 in Chongqing, China, and grew up in Beijing. "Book from the Ground transcends culture, and it is modern and international," explains Bing on his intention to create a work capable of crossing of traditional cultural boundaries. The Phoenix Project marks a transition in Bing's artistic career. Sala La Gallera, Valencia, Spain Xu Bing in Berlin. See more ideas about chinese contemporary art, chinese art, bing. As part of cultural reform, the Maoist government simplified written Chinese, whilst also diverging from the subtlety and delicacy of its traditional use in their propaganda slogans, which were direct and aggressive. The artist observes that, "in general, society is shaped by new technology. He explains that his works “are all linked by a common thread, which is to construct some kind of obstacle to people's habitual ways of thinking—what I call the ‘cognitive structures’ of the mind.” More interesting than the narrative he contrives from the curated footage, is the technique through which the story is told, and the revelation of just how intrusive public surveillance has become. The Philip and Patricia Frost Art Museum. Xu Bing Biography. "Xu Bing Artist Overview and Analysis". With its universal aspirations, it suggests an optimistic embrace digital and mass communication as a means to achieve linguistic harmony. At the seminal 1989 exhibition, Xu Bing exhibited his sprawling and now-iconic installation, originally titled Fenxi Shijie de Shu (A book that analyzes the world), better known today as Tianshu or Book from the Sky. It thus serves as an intermediary form of communication and exchange between the two languages. 1987–91. Book from the Ground represents an innovative and contemporary means of communication and maintains a consistency with the artist's exploration of language. PROJECT BY: Xu Bing (China) BIOGRAPHY: Currently serving as a Cornell A. D. White Professor-at-Large (2015-2021), Xu Bing works across artistic disciplines and cultural interventions to touch the fields of public and ecological art, printmaking, … [Xu Bing] is best known for his stunningly beautiful yet pessimistic 1988 installation Tianshu (the book of the sky). Xu Bing’s studio also made a character database software that corresponds to the language of the book. Xu Bing was born in Chongqing, China in 1955. Xu does, however, maintain an appreciation for the country's long cultural traditions through using powerful mythological figures, still revered to this day. As such, the Phoenix pair have since traveled the world, from the Shanghai World Expo in 2010 to Massachusetts MOCA to St. John's Cathedral in New York in 2014, before heading out to hover over the timeworn canals of Italy for the 2015 Venice Biennale. What is consistent in his work through the 1980s and 1990s is a connection with China's deeply-rooted scholastic traditions, something which he was taught by his intellectually-minded father in private, despite the external transformations of the Chinese language which were being implemented by Chairman Mao. 2001-2011. He explains that his works “are all linked by a common thread, which is to construct some kind of obstacle to people's habitual ways of thinking—what I call the ‘cognitive structures’ of the mind.” In 1977 he entered the printmaking department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) where completed his Bachelor’s degree in 1981, staying on as an instructor and earning his MFA in 1987. Instead it is composed entirely of surveillance footage, framing the story of its female protagonist Qing Ting ('dragonfly' in Mandarin), who leaves her life as a nun behind to work in a milk factory, and is then followed across various other urban locations, at the same time chronicling a love story between herself and an ex-colleague. Bing continued to work with the written word after his move to the USA in 1990. In keeping with his previous work with calligraphy, which challenged the audience's preconceived ideas about their surroundings whilst maintaining a reverence of tradition, Xu Bing's Background Story series employs traditional Chinese aesthetics to promote this same inquisitive mindset. New York. New York. Both following and questioning this "venerated tradition" is a constant theme throughout Xu's works up until the early 2000s, stemming from his scholastic upbringing, and his appreciation of the physicality of books and writing which he learnt through spending days on end in Peking University's library reading rooms, where his mother would send him while she worked. Through challenging common preconceptions, Book from the Sky forces the viewer to re-evaluate ideas about the authority of language. Xu Bing actively encouraged input from the laborers and he, or rather they, turned the discarded into the majestic, using metals and debris sourced at numerous sites across China into a pair of towering sculptures of the mythic phoenixes, one reaching 100-feet in length, and the other 90 feet, with a combined weight of 12 tons. Today Art Museum, Beijing, China 2004. Tobacco Project: Richmond. The installation of the work allows the viewer to go behind the work and see behind the illusion. The Book from the Sky is one of the most intriguing Chinese art installations of the century and the nifty work of none other than the celebrated Chinese artist Xu Bing. Culturally, he explores his identity as both Chinese and American, bridging the gap in some examples through writing out simple nursery rhymes in this format, and in others poignant slogans about freedom of expression. Through May 24, 2015 . Xu Bing is known for pushing political and social boundaries within his culture. With multiple levels of meaning attached to Background Story, Xu Bing primarily prompts us to question our surroundings, as he did in his calligraphic work, so that we are continuously aware of what is real, and what is merely a mirage - he wants us to realize that our external world, contrary to our belief, is ever-changing and transformative. Thus, Xu employs the symbols to comment on China's social and environmental issues, stating that "the materials which make up the Phoenix closely reflect the problems facing China," including the rapid industrialization of the rural geography, an increasingly throwaway culture, and a lack of value for manual laborers. ... and it's a huge work on paper from the late 1980s by the Chinese-born artist Xu Bing. "Brush and Ink: The Chinese Art of Writing," September 2, 2006–January 21, 2007. Plant material, hemp fibers and newspaper on backlit glass - British Museum, London, UK. The Frye Art Museum is proud to present the US premiere of Dragonfly Eyes (Trailer), a work in progress which will culminate in the first full-length cinematic feature by renowned Chinese artist Xu Bing.The film eschews camera operators and on-screen actors, and instead employs publicly available video surveillance footage of everyday life. Ghosts Pounding the Wall-Xu Bing's Work. Only now, he demonstrates how easily the actions of individuals can be manipulated to create a false narrative, just as language once was. Renowned for his use and creation of meaningless Chinese characters, Xu probes audiences to reconsider ideas of calligraphy, symbolism of art and knowledge through language. Installation view at Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, 2016. All Rights Reserved. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Upon Xu Bin's departure, Book from the Sky was not shown again in China for nearly 20 years, despite multiple international installations of the work. In 2007, as Xu Bing returned to China from the United States, the work was included with "'85 New Wave: The Birth of Chinese Contemporary Art" exhibition at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. Courtesy of Xu Bing Studio. 1955). Employing traditional methods of … However, these sculptures ask the viewer to look beyond traditional Chinese iconography to find additional layers of meaning, such as the opposition of civilization and the natural world. Over the years, Xu Bing’s work has appeared in high-school and college text-books around the world including Abram’s Art Past – Art Present, Gardner’s, Art Through the Ages and Greg Clunas’s Chinese Art a volume in the Oxford History of Art series. See available prints and multiples, works on paper, and installation for sale and learn about the artist. [Internet]. By creating a written world of nonsense in the guise of an age-old authority, he recreates his own sense of confusion when growing up through changes to language, by which he lived in two worlds, creating Maoist propaganda slogans at school, and being taught the traditional scholastic canon by his historian father at home. New York. Xu Bing creates contemporary artworks using Chinese calligraphy and other traditional Chinese media placed within unexpected settings. Ink on paper - Anonymous private collection. Find artworks by Xu Bing (Chinese, 1955) on MutualArt and find more works from galleries, museums and auction houses worldwide. Pioneering Chinese contemporary artist Xu Bing creates powerful, poignant mixed-media installations, in which he subverts systems of language, upending expectations and perception. In his series Background Story, Xu Bing uses unusual materials in order to create a deceptively typical Chinese Scroll Painting. For Ai Weiwei, the work recalls the artist's own confrontation with the Chinese government as he discovered surveillance cameras and listening devices had been installed within his own studio in the months leading to his detainment. Needless to say, this has challenged...a lot of philosophical, legal, and moral concepts." Using traditional ink work techniques, the characters again appear to be Chinese at first glance. Instead of accomplishing any worthwhile objectives, Mr. Black, much like the simplistic icon by which he is represented, represents the shallow nature of rampant consumerism as he frets about brand-name clothing and where to eat while browsing social media, instead of pursuing meaningful activities. "The imagination and beauty of the installation, as well as Xu's serious approach, were often commended," art historian Stanley K. Abe describes in his 1998 … 1999-2011 Living Word. The artwork for the 2018 label reflects the artist’s work on the illusory splendour of appearances as manifested by his Square … Xu Bing, “Book from the Sky,” ca. The second edition hangs in four strands and each strand had to be reconfigured. The developers envisioned the collaboration with the internationally renowned artist as a crowning achievement to enhance the building's sleek, futuristic design. This complicated installation required a complete reworking as the first edition hangs in one chain. However, realizing the nonsensical nature of the characters redefines this feeling of calm into bewilderment. ", Books and scrolls printed from carved wood types, ink on paper - Eslite Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan. Concurrent with the exhibition of his Square Word Calligraphy, Xu has even taught classes in the USA on the design and creation of this invented visual language. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Xu Bing is a contemporary Chinese installation artist and one of China’s best-known creative figures. As with his other works, this piece presents a duality of issues, as Xu ponders the negative, almost brainwashing effects of social media, big businesses and global brands which permeate every facet of urban life. Kai Yin-Lo comments on this by observing that, "while well versed in tradition, and in the culture and mores of the Communist regime, Xu Bing also poses cerebral and representational challenges to their validity and values." Art for the People; Ghost Pounding the Wall; Stone Path; Purple Breeze Comes from the East ; Ergo Dynamic Desktop; The Well of Truth ; The Glassy Surface of a Lake ; ... Xu Bing Phoenix (MA) 2008 - 2010 / 2012 2011. In his youth, Bing's experience of language was one of two worlds - at home, he practiced the fine art of literati calligraphy which was so respected by Imperial Chinese values, whilst in his capacity as student and worker, he created banners and posters in the government's simplified, direct style. Find the latest shows, biography, and artworks for sale by Xu Bing 徐冰. Background Story 7. 2011. Xu Bing accompanied the ART in Embassies team to Beijing to installat the second edition of “Monkeys Grasping for the Moon” in 2008. This critique of modern Western behaviors lies in contrast to his later critiques of industrial China. The Queensland Art Gallery acquired the work in 1994. Approaching the five-foot-tall piece, small clues suggest that things are not as simple as they first seem; instead of the traditional ink work on paper, objects appear to visually fall behind the surface of the paper. 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