Xu Bing’s gallery show at the Shanghai Gallery of Art
I enjoyed a show by an artist named Xu Bing at the Shanghai Gallery of Art.
He created a book using only symbols so that anyone could understand it, no matter what language they spoke. The show showed the book and the four-year process he took to create it.
The simple, blocky images telling a story suggested to me that taking simple, direct pictures of them would tell the story of the show. I hope I achieved my goal.
I hope you’ll forgive my making the images a bit too big for the blog design, but I wanted to show more of the art. Hovering over the image pauses the slide show, which I recommend doing when you see individual pages of his work (clicking the little dots below the images lets you jump to specific images). Starting on page one, you can read the story about him waking up, doing morning things, and starting his day.
It takes time and some mental effort to decipher, but the effort pays for itself in the rewarding feeling of discovery.
Before the images of the pages in the book you see how he developed the iconography and made the book. I had to view that part a few times in person to get it. After the book you see a video wall plus a room he created with merchandise in his style. Seeing that room prompted me to take these pictures. I hope they convey how cool his stuff is and how he created a language that works in our times across cultures.
Thanks to Catherine Lee, who showed my work at her gallery, Crossing Art, last year and who put me in touch with her friend Moxian, of Shanghai’s Pearl Lam gallery, who told me about this show. Thank you also to Mathieu Borysevicz, of the Shanghai Gallery of Art, who invited me to an opening there when my visit coincided with one last year.
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