German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier Commends Prof. Xu Bing

On the morning of December 10, 2018, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visits artist Xu Bing’s studio in Beijing. This marks President Steinmeier’s first state visit to China since his inauguration. Despite his packed schedule with national affairs, which includes meetings with Chairman Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang of the People's Republic of China, Steinmeier spares time for art, his passionate interest.


Xu Bing introduced to President Steinmeier Square Word Calligraphy in German: Haarnadel Phonix. This work derives from Xu Bing's 2009 sculpture in memory of the 20th anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall. 


During the hour-long visit and conversation in Xu Bing’s studio, Steinmeier examines various representative works of Xu Bing, including Background Story, Square Word Calligraphy, American Silkworm Series, and the Phoenix Project.

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Xu Bing showing President Steinmeier the details behind Background Story.

Notably, the first piece of Background Story finds its origin from the Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Museum of East Asian Art), Berlin in 2004. In this piece, Xu Bing reflects on the museum's history and its exhibits, highlighting the unseen museum history behind each displayed artwork.

President Steinmeier expresses great interest in Xu Bing’s diverse artistic creations and pays close attention to their details, praising his work as “singular".


Members of Xu Bing Studio Beijing and President Steinmeier (from left to right): Liu Siyao, Fang Chao, Xu Yan, President Steinmeier, Xu Bing, Wu Yue, Zhang Zuo, Xia Wenbin, Wu Yanling.