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Xu Bing: Writing Between Heaven and Earth

Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum - Miami

By Ashley Knight

Acclaimed worldwide for his epic installations, Chinese contemporary artist Xu Bing has been invited from Beijing to exhibit at The Frost Art Museum. The show encompasses 5,000 square feet and features the artist’s most iconic installations, as well as never-before-seen artworks that he created specifically for this presentation. The show was curated by Dr. Lidu Yi, a professor and historian of Chinese art at FIU.

Xu Bing, Book from the Sky, 1987-1991. Installation view at “Crossings,” National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1998), dimensions variable. Courtesy Xu Bing Studio.

Xu Bing, Book from the Sky, 1987-1991. Installation view at “Crossings,” National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1998), dimensions variable. Courtesy Xu Bing Studio.

Trained in China during the 1970s as a master printmaker, Xu was born in Chongqing in 1955 and grew up in Beijing during the Cultural Revolution. A core tenet of his work is the preservation of Chinese culture and traditions. He represents Chinese characters and traditional landscapes to playfully re-create the written word and inspire viewers to reevaluate their ideas about cultural identity and language. At the Frost Museum show, the focal installation is the complete Book from the Sky–four years in the making–featuring more than 4,000 illegible Chinese characters invented by the artist, meticulously hand-carved pieces, more than 160 volumes of hand-made woodblock-printed books, huge scrolls hanging from the ceiling and poster-sized wall panels resembling propaganda-style posters. Through May 24, 2015.

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