Word Play: Contemporary Art by Xu Bing

Although Xu Bing is recognized by Chinese artists and the international scholarly community as one of the most important Chinese artists to emerge during the last 25 years, there has been no major exhibition of his work since 1991. A self-imposed exile, Xu Bing was a leader in the avant-garde movement that emerged in China between the end of the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Xu Bing’s seminal, best known piece, A Book from the Sky(Tianshu ) on view here, includes books and scrolls wall posters printed using two thousand unreadable imitation “Chinese characters” that were invented by the artist to express humankind’s struggle with communication. Three other works, Square Word Calligraphy,The New English Calligraphy and A,B,C demystify the art of calligraphy and several new works including large landscripts (calligraphic landscapes) address issues of communication while also offering visitors the opportunity to experiment with Chinese calligraphic tools.

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