Xu Bing

A Book From The Sky , 1987

Artwork Type: Prints
Medium: Lithograph on paper
Dimensions: 38 x 20 in. (96.52 x 50.8 cm)
Accession #: 19961231
Credit: Collection of University Art Museum, University at Albany, State University of New York on behalf of University at Albany Foundation , Gift of Xu Bing
Related Exhibition:
Affinities and Outliers: Highlights from the University at Albany Fine Art Collections
Object Label:
This work belongs to a larger museum- scale installation titled A Book From the Sky (1987) of four books that was first displayed in 1988 in Beijing, China and in the University Art Museum in 1996. As in many of Xu Bing’s (b. 1955, Chinese) works, the Chinese characters in this woodblock print are invented by the artist. As a result, the language of his books and prints cannot be decoded and hold 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.
Affinities and Outliers: Highlights from the University at Albany Fine Art Collections

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