Xu Bing

b. 1955 in Chongqing, China
Working in Beijing, China; and New York, NY, United States of America
Showing at Asia Society Museum
On view October 27, 2020, through February 7, 2021
and
March 26, 2021, through June 27, 2021
Xu Bing

Xu Bing, Silkworm Book: The Analects of Confucius, 2019. Book, silk. H. 1 3/4 x W. 20 1/2 x D. 16 1/2 in. (4.4 x 52 x 42 cm). Courtesy of the artist. Photograph courtesy of Xu Bing Studio. This work was commissioned by Asia Society Museum, New York, for the inaugural Asia Society Triennial: We Do Not Dream Alone.

 

Location: Asia Society Museum
Xu Bing, Silkworm Book: The Analects of Confucius, 2019, Courtesy of the artist

Installation view of Asia Society Triennial: We Do Not Dream Alone at Asia Society Museum, New York, October 27, 2020–June 27, 2021. Xu Bing, Silkworm Book: The Analects of Confucius, 2019, Courtesy of the artist. Photograph © Bruce M. White, 2020. This work was commissioned by Asia Society Museum, New York, for the inaugural Asia Society Triennial: We Do Not Dream Alone.

Location: Asia Society Museum
From left to right: Xu Bing, Silkworm Book: The Analects of Confucius, 2019, Courtesy of the artist; (Declaration of Independence) In Congress, July 4, 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America..., [n.d. ca. 1833] [Force/Stone facsimile], ca. 1833, Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation; Sun Xun, July Coming Soon, 2019, Courtesy of the artist and ShanghART Gallery

Installation view of Asia Society Triennial: We Do Not Dream Alone at Asia Society Museum, New York, October 27, 2020–June 27, 2021. From left to right: Xu Bing, Silkworm Book: The Analects of Confucius, 2019, Courtesy of the artist; (Declaration of Independence) In Congress, July 4, 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America..., [n.d. ca. 1833] [Force/Stone facsimile], ca. 1833, Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation; Sun Xun, July Coming Soon, 2019, Courtesy of the artist and ShanghART Gallery. Photograph © Bruce M. White, 2020

Location: Asia Society Museum

Xu Bing’s ruminations on the indelible relationship between language and society have been an ongoing subject of his work since the 1980s. He was first recognized for his now-iconic installation, Book From the Sky (1987-91), which featured more than four thousand nonsensical pictograms resembling the Chinese written language. The artist subsequently created what he calls “square word calligraphy”—a system in which English words are written in a manner resembling Chinese characters. This cross-cultural fusion of language leads viewers to reassess their preconceived notions about written language while it illuminates cultural specificities and commonalities between China and the West. The artist received a BFA and an MFA in printmaking from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, in 1981 and 1987 respectively. In 1999, Xu Bing was the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship, known as the “Genius Grant.” 


Silkworm Book: The Analects of Confucius was commissioned for the Asia Society Triennial as part of a special project by guest curator Susan L. Beningson, PhD, entitled We the People: Sun Xun and Xu Bing Respond to the Declaration of Independence. The sculpture was created through the ancient Chinese practice of sericulture to produce a silk-encased copy of The Analects by Confucius, a text that was studied by the founders of the United States, as a means to explore the broad transcultural influences that contributed to the formation and structure of the United States government.


Below: Xu Bing, Silkworm Video: The Analects, 2019. Single-channel video. Duration: 3 minutes, 30 seconds. Courtesy of the artist. Video courtesy of Xu Bing Studio

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