Xu Bing (b. 1955) began his career at the crest of China’s 1985 “New Wave” art. He relocated to the U.S. after the Tiananmen Square massacre, and has since emerged on the stage of global art as a hugely popular figure. Xu’s sculptural explorations of his Chinese cultural heritage have produced large-scale installations deploying, for example, hand-carved printing blocks inscribed with 4,000 characters invented by the artist (“Book from the Sky”); in “Where Does the Dust Collect Itself?” he arranged a handful of dust into a seventh-century Zen text. Xu’s intercessions in the Chinese signifier’s communication of meaning suggest the fragility of all cultural transmission within the continuum of history, and perhaps also point to the artist’s own experience of displacement. With more than 400 reproductions of works from across Xu’s career, this first complete retrospective is accompanied by critical commentary plus a full bibliography and exhibition chronology.
Artist: Xu Bing
Publisher: Albion Books, London