Xu Bing traces his family roots to Wenling, in China’s Zhejiang Province. He was born in Chongqing and grew up in Beijing. In 1977 he entered the printmaking department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA), where he completed his bachelor’s degree and stayed on as an instructor, earning his MFA in 1987. In 1990, he moved to the United States to serve as resident artist at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison. In 2007 Xu accepted the position of vice president of CAFA. His work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the British Museum, London; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Louvre, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid; the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington DC; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York;
the Joan Miro Foundation, Spain; the National Gallery of Prague; and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; and Taipei Fine Arts Museum. Xu Bing has also shown at several international biennial exhibitions such as the 45th and 51st Venice Biennales, the Biennale of Sydney, the Sao Paulo Biennial, and the Taipei Biennial.
contribution to society in the form of print-making
“infected by the wonders of art production” by working with students globally
In, “Now, Daylight,” Xu Bing uses the temporality of light, more in the form of nature, as we know that light passes by or even recedes during certain epochs of the day. His fascination with using architecture as a reflection of these gestures are captured in static, compositional shots.
Inflexions of the rock, as Bing explains, are a geological and historical aesthetic treasured by scholars in China. He expresses his interest in, particularly looking at the rock through its different ‘stages of beauty’– once, again, by the nature of the way light falls.
The almost skeleton-like, silky impressions of rocks, he continues, formulates the same gestures which found Chinese calligraphy.
As myself, an artist also interested in urban planning and architecture, I wonder if the raw stages of mapping, such as the impressions of urban cross-sections, influence him in creating micro-environments, much like James Casebere. I also find it so interesting, the way when a micro-environment is placed within a larger environment (reality)– the overall, frozen image of both together in one frame (hence the idea of the ‘frame within the frame’)– such as his installation in front of the Chatsworth House. So this integration of placing a micro-China (or Asia) within a European styled environment is thus fascinating, almost like placing a country within a country.
In other smaller shots, which are much more zoomed in into a particular area of landscape– such as the habitat which embodies a stone, he uses tiny humans and animals made through ceramics to actually elicit life being lived in this ‘micro-space.’
Animating the elemental qualities and gestures of each individual Chinese line through the digital– genius! Also, in Chinese calligraphy, like hieroglyphics, the development of line and characters can be traced to history and narrative, like tiny artworks of warriors, for example, expressed through line.