Xu Bing


Xu Bing’s ruminations on the indelible relationship between language and society have been an ongoing subject of his work since the 1980s. He was first recognized for his now-iconic installation, Book From the Sky (1987), which featured more than four thousand nonsensical pictograms resembling the Chinese written language. The artist subsequently created what he calls “square word calligraphy”—a system in which English words are written in a manner resembling Chinese characters. This cross-cultural fusion of language leads viewers to reassess their preconceived notions about written language while it illuminates cultural specificities and commonalities between China and the West.