Xu Bing: Thought and Method
Art for the People
Book from the Sky
Duobaota, Calligraphy Practice
Brilliant Mountain Flowers Magazine
Etching on Paper: Moment-Fossil, Moment-Still Life
Five Series of Repetitions: Field
Five Series of Repetitions: Sketch1986-1988, Five Series of Repetitions: Notebook 1986-1988
Five Series of Repetitions
Ghosts Pounding the Wall
Ergo Dynamic Desktop
Square Word Calligraphy: Study on Alphabet Design
Square Word Calligraphy
Square Word Calligraphy Classroom
Book from the Ground Studio
Book from the Ground Pop-up
Square Word Calligraphy Sign: Men, Toddlers, Women
Monkeys Grasp for the Moon
Mustard Seed Garden Landscape Scroll
The Character of Characters
Draft of The Character of Characters
A Case Study of Transference
The Parrot, Panda Zoo, Wild Zebra
American Silkworm Series
Honor and Splendor
Tobacco Project: Tang Poems, Match Books, Chinese Spirit, Redbook
Tobacco Project: Reel Book
Traveling Down the River
Background Story - Old Trees, Level Distance
Where Does the Dust Itself Collect
Story of the Phoenix
Exhibition Date: 21/07/2018- 21/10/2018
Exhibition Location: Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
Exhibited Works: Art For the People, Book from the Sky, Book from the Ground, Ghosts Pounding the Wall, A,B,C..., Lost Letters, Monkeys Grasp for the Moon, Square Word Calligraphy, The Character of Characters, A Case Study of Transference, Background Story, Forest Project, Phoenix, Dragonfly Eyes, etc.
From July 21 to October 21, 2018, UCCA presents “Xu Bing: Thought and Method,” running in the Great Hall, Central Gallery, Nave and Lobby. This exhibition marks Xu Bing’s most comprehensive retrospective in Beijing; it is a summation of an artistic career that spans more than four decades, including more than sixty works, comprising prints, drawings, installation art, and films, as well as documentary footage and archival material. It is also the first exhibition that UCCA mounts after the complete restoration of the Great Hall to its original 1800-square-meter dimensions. The name, “Thought and Method,” expresses UCCA’s desire to provide a systematic overview of Xu’s corpus, his methodology, and the motivation behind his artistic inquiry. To this end, the works under consideration here have been divided into three sections, indicative of major turning points in the artist’s thinking. Xu’s meditations on signification, textuality, and linguistic aporia are evoked in such artworks as Book from the Sky (1987-1991), Ghosts Pounding the Wall (1990-1991), and “Background Story” (2004-present); his explorations of hybridity, difference, and translingual practice emerge through works like A, B, C… (1991), Art for the People (1999), and “Square Word Calligraphy” (1994-present); and his recent investigations on the economic and geopolitical changes that have swept China and the world in the last hundred years are made apparent in works like “Tobacco Project” (2000-present), Phoenix (2008-2013), Book from the Ground(2003-present), and his first feature-length film, Dragonfly Eyes (2017). The exhibition also presents one of Xu’s first artworks,Duobaota, Calligraphy Practice (1971), produced in middle school, and Old Trees, Level Distance (2018), the newest entry in the “Background Story” series, created specially for this exhibition.
One of the most influential artists on the international stage, Xu Bing has made a profound impact on the history of Chinese contemporary art with his prolific output, wide-ranging vision, and ever-evolving practice. Possessed with a keen sensitivity to the hesitations and ironies within different historical periods, Xu produces artworks that are bound closely to their social and cultural contexts, inspiring viewers to pause and reflect on their surroundings. As he says, “Wherever there are people, there are questions. And wherever there are questions, there is art.” Xu’s vision is multiple and myriad: from the early explorations of culture, language, and traditional knowledge systems, to the investigations into cross-cultural contact and globalization in the nineties, to the recent meditations on technology and modernity in the 21st century. His search for novel methods of articulating new problems, his experimentation with a great number of media, both traditional and new, his conceptual rigor, and his unmistakable creative syntax have all served to make his name a metonym for Chinese contemporary art itself.
Sculpture 21st: Xu Bing. Dragonfly Eyes
Dates: 06/10/2018 – 09/02/2018
Location: Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Germany
Exhibited Work: Dragonfly Eyes
In the Lehmbruck Museum, Xu Bing presents his film Dragonfly Eyes (2017) for the first time as part of a multimedia installation that documents the unusual genesis of the film. The artist simultaneously recorded the livestreams of hundreds of surveillance cameras in his studio with 25 laptops and then assembled the scenes into a coherent story. This work process is directly accessible to the visitors through 16 laptops that show live images of real surveillance cameras in the museum.
Xu Bing: Language and Nature
Dates: 14/07/2018- 23/09/2018
Location: Ink Studio, Beijing, China
Exhibited works: Woodcut prints, Landscript, The Living Word, Background Story, The Mustard Seed Garden Scroll, Book from the Sky
“. . . facing a real mountain, I wrote ‘mountain’ . . . where there was river water I wrote the character for ‘water’. The clouds shifted, the mountain colors changed, the wind blew and the grasses moved, the life around me appeared and disappeared; with a feeling of excitement, I recorded it all!” —Xu Bing, 2013 on his 1999 excursions in the Himalaya Mountains.
Xu Bing is widely recognized as one of the leading conceptual artists of language and semiotics working today. Indeed, many consider the relationship between humankind and language to be the dominant leitmotif of Xu Bing’s oeuvre. The exhibition Language and Nature incorporates works from six distinct but conceptually inter-related practices to chart Xu Bing’s systematic exploration of what he describes as nothing less than the “most essential and particular constituent of our [Chinese] culture.” For thid exhition, the Curator Erickson takes a fresh look at Xu Bing’s practice and explores its central theme of Nature. Specifically, it examines Nature’s relationship to human minds and human societies as embodied in two distinctly Chinese modes of signification: the pictorial character of Chinese writing and the language-like nature of Chinese painting.