Xu Bing: Book from the Ground

Xu Bing: Book from the Ground

Exhibition Period
11 Aug 2012 - 14 Oct 2012
ESLITE Bookstore Causeway Bay Branch: 9th Floor, Hysan Place - 500 Hennessey Road
Opening Hours
11 Aug 2012

Within eslite bookstore’s first overseas shop located in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, PROJECT ONE is a long-term art project space based on contemporary art and urban culture, focusing on “one art work, one contemporary concept.” Both international and Chinese contemporary artists will be invited to participate in exhibitions that engage readers with progressive dialogue and cultural perspectives that inspire intellectual sparks. Eslite has invited Chia Chi Jason Wang, former curator for the Venice Architecture Biennale Taiwan Pavilion as well as the Taiwan Biennale, to curate the first exhibition series for this space. “WORD” constitutes the basic element of a book, and therefore the first series will focus on the core spirit of the bookstore. The first artist to exhibit will be Xu Bing, an important artist in the international art scene, with his newest developments in “Book from the Ground.”

Since 1987, XU Bing has quietly carved more than 4,000 pseudo-Chinese characters and used them to create traditional books and scrolls with moveable type printing press of the Song Dynasty. Book from the Sky was a project that was purposefully undecipherable. Book from the Ground, however, was created with the intention that it could be read and enjoyed by everyone, whether literate or not. XU Bing started to work on Book from the Ground, an ongoing project since 2003. He has spent much time traveling around the world, and waiting around in airports. He began to notice the many symbols surrounding him when he saw a gum wrapper with three symbols that reminded users to throw out their gum into the trash after enjoying. He thought that it would be interesting to use this minimal way of communicating to create a story. He began to collect, research, and classify different labels, and even looked at expression and trademark symbols in other areas such as mathematics, chemistry, physics, maps, music scores, dance choreography and more. To create work that is regardless of culture, and that even the illiterate can understand is the inspiration behind Book from the Ground. With the new language, or “oracle of modern times,” it could be said that XU Bing has activated the Tower of Babel. Both Book from the Sky and Book from the Ground share the quality of being indiscriminant of their readers, where the language and education level of their readers are not relevant to the understanding of the works. While Book from the Sky shows XU Bing’s disappointment in language, Book from the Ground shows his search for a language universally understood by contemporary society.

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