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Xu Bing (B. 1955)
Xu Bing (B. 1955)
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Xu Bing (B. 1955)

New English Calligraphy Series: Quotations from Chairman Mao

Details
Xu Bing (B. 1955)
New English Calligraphy Series: Quotations from Chairman Mao
Zedong
ink on paper
67 x 147 cm. (26 3/8 x 57 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2000

Lot Essay

Xu Bing has built an international reputation as one of the leading Chinese avant-garde artists with his custom-designed Chinese calligraphy and other well-received series. New English Calligraphy: Quotation from Chairman Mao (Lot 441), featured in the Day Sale, is the best example from his noted New English Calligraphy series. The work exquisitely demonstrates Xu's ability to cope with personal and political turbulence in his life and his courage to challenge tradition by forging his own art form, which ultimately allows his work to transcend social and cultural backgrounds. Xu Bing's basic idea in the series is to merge Chinese characters and Western letters, and to encourage the viewer to take up calligraphy. The non-Chinese viewer is struck by their visual impact and beauty without having to confront their unintelligibility, while the Chinese viewer is at first frustrated, and then perceives the artist's clever reliance on traditional forms to express profound contemporary ideas. Through this simple yet brilliant invention, Xu has attained multiple elusive goals of contemporary art. His works address philosophical questions of the era within contemporary aesthetic criteria that are enriched by traditional culture; they employ international visual language while recognising ties to traditional Chinese art; and the viewer and the artworks are engaged in constant communication and active thinking.

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