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Bing Xu (b. 1955)
This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When au… Read more
Bing Xu (b. 1955)

Book from the Sky

Details
Bing Xu (b. 1955)
Book from the Sky
signed in Chinese; signed 'Xu Bing' in Pinyin; numbered '70/100'
four hand-woodblock printed books in original
wood case (a set of four books)
each book: 46 x 30 cm. (18 1/8 x 11 13/16 in.) (4)
wood case: 50 x 33 x 10 cm. (19 11/16 x 13 x 4 15/16 in.)
edition 70/100
Executed 1991 (5)
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist Private collection, New York, USA
Literature
Jean-Marc Decrop & Christine Buci-Glucksmann, Modernites Chinoises , SKIRA, Paris, France, 2003 (different edition illustrated, plate 46, p. 64). Hatje Cantz Verlag, Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection , Ostfildern- Ruit, Germany, 2005 (different edition illustrated, p. 285) Lingnan Art Publishing House, Create History: Commemoration Exhibition of Chinese Modern Art in 1980s , Guangdong, China, 2006 (different sized version and edition illustrated, unpaged). University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Mahjong: Art, Film, and Change in China , exh. cat., California, USA, 2008 (different edition illustrated, p. 25). Ullens Center of Contemporary & Shanghai People Publishing House, 85' New Wave: the First Chinese Contemporary Art Movement , exh. cat., Beijing, China, 2008 (different sized version and edition illustrated, p. 155). Richard Vine, New China New Art , Prestel Verlag, Munich, London & New York, 2008 (different sized version and edition illustrated, p. 63). Prestel Verlag, China's Revision , Munich, London & New York, 2008 (different sized version and edition illustrated, p. 110). Queensland Art Gallery, the China Project , Queensland, Australia, 2009 (different edition illustrated, p. 40).
Exhibited
Bern, Switzerland, Kunstmuseum Bern, Mahjong - Contemporary; Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection , 13 June-16 October 2005 (different edition exhibited) Hamburg, Germany. Hamburger Kunsthalle, Mahjong - Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection , Fall 2006. ( different edition exhibited). Shenzhen, China, OCT-Contemporary Art Terminal, He Xiangning Art Museum, Create History: Commemoration Exhibition of Chinese Modern Art in 1980s, 3-30 November 2006 (different sized version and edition exhibited) Beijing, China. Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, 85' New Wave: the First Chinese Contemporary Art Movement , 5 November 2007-17 February 2008 (different sized version and edition exhibited); California, USA, University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection , 10 September 2008-4 January 2009. (different edition exhibited). Koblenz, Germany, Ludwig Museum in Deutschherrenhaus, China's Revision , 9 November 2008-25 January 2009. (different sized version and edition exhibited). Queensland, Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, The China Project , 28 March-28 June 2009. (different edition exhibited). California, USA, Pacific Asian Museum, Calligraffiti: Writing in Contemporary Chinese and Latino Art , 17 September 2009 -17 January 2010.
Special notice

This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When auctioned, such property will remain under “bond” with the applicable import customs duties and taxes being deferred unless and until the property is brought into free circulation in the PRC. Prospective buyers are reminded that after paying for such lots in full and cleared funds, if they wish to import the lots into the PRC, they will be responsible for and will have to pay the applicable import customs duties and taxes. The rates of import customs duty and tax are based on the value of the goods and the relevant customs regulations and classifications in force at the time of import.

Lot Essay

The project Book from the Sky was initiated by Xu Bing in 1987, first exhibited in the late eighties at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing.
"Book from the sky", as suggested by the title is referring to books which are too difficult to be interpreted or understood. This set of four books is being bound by Chinese traditional sewing, following the style of movable-type printing; the pages are completed by seemingly familiar Chinese Square Word characters . These characters created consist of the most simple and common component in Chinese character s , such as one side of the characters that have structural left and structural right, the sides assimilating elements like water and earth. However as familiar they look, the forms of the ' word s ' are incomprehensible. Xu Bin regards these contradictions and absurdities the causes that made readership impossible, yet the absence of absolute definitions and explanations written down in a dictionary makes possible interpretations possible.

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