Modern Mondays: An Evening with Xu Bing

Modern Mondays: An Evening with Xu Bing accompanies MoMA Presents: Xu Bing’s Dragonfly Eyes. 

September 24, 2018 at 7:00 PM

Chinese artist Xu Bing—who grew up surrounded by books in an intellectual family and later studied printmaking—demonstrated an early interest in language, calligraphy, and typography. Since the 1980s, he has created works that challenge the meaning of language and what we see. His groundbreaking installation Book from the Sky (1987–91) is made up of scrolls and thread-bound books filled with what appears to be Chinese text, but upon close examination turns out to be fake characters. His later work further expanded his investigation of the relationship between images/objects and what they mean to us. Background Story (2004–ongoing), a light-and-shadow box that appears as a landscape painting display is in fact an installation of found materials. His first feature film, Dragonfly Eyes (2017), uses Internet-sourced surveillance footage to construct a fictional tale set in modern China. Xu joins us for an illustrated talk about his universe of language, meaning, material, fiction, and truth.