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Xu Bing

Xu-Bing-installation-shot-for-web.jpg

Xu Bing | China/United States b.1955 | A book from the sky 1987-91 | Woodblock print, wood, leather, ivory | Four banners: 103 x 6 x 8.5cm (each, folded): 19 boxes: 49.2 x 33.5 x 9.8cm (each, containing four books) The Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art. | Purchased 1994 with funds from the International Exhibitions Program and with the assistance of The Myer Foundation and Michael Sidney Myer through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Xu Bing installation shot

Xu Bing
China/United States  b.1955
A book from the sky 1987-91
Woodblock print, wood, leather, ivory
Four banners: 103 x 6 x 8.5cm (each, folded): 19 boxes: 49.2 x 33.5 x 9.8cm (each, containing four books)
The Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art.
Purchased 1994 with funds from the International Exhibitions Program and with the assistance of The Myer Foundation and Michael Sidney Myer through the
Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Xu Bing

A book from the sky 1987-91

Xu Bing is a contemporary Chinese artist associated with the New Wave of Fine Arts movement. Since its inception in 1985, the movement has produced art denouncing political oppression.

A book from the sky 1987-91 is composed of bound books covering the floor. Reams of paper are draped overhead, and recall the daily papers in China which are pasted up for all to read. These reams display thousands of characters that were carved by Xu Bing and then printed by a traditional Chinese press in Beijing. Paradoxically, all of the characters were invented by the artist.

The work infers that the aim of printing, which is to spread knowledge, has been subverted. This work critically questions the notion of power and the collapse of political dialogue through the written word ― a symbol of history and culture in China.

This magnificent installation symbolises aspects of the old and the emerging China. While the medium and technique are traditionally Chinese, the scale and intent of the work align it with contemporary artistic practice.