Xu Bing was born in Chongqing, China, in 1955. He earned his BA from the printmaking department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (CAFA) in 1981, while earning his MFA in 1987. He moved to the United States in 1990. He moved back to China in 2007. From 2008 to 2014, Xu Bing served as the vice president of CAFA, where he is now a professor and the director of the Academic Committee. He currently lives and works in Beijing and New York.
The language in many of Xu Bing's books and prints cannot be decoded and holds no obvious meaning. Through the act of inventing writing, the artist raises questions about the relationship between identity and the written word as well as his claim that writing is the “essence of culture.” By fictionalizing and subverting language, Bing creates both the need and the potential to communicate beyond accepted meaning or truths.