In Dialogue with Xu Bing
An exciting series of workshops dedicated to a new methodology of reading Contemporary Chinese Art, focusing on works by Xu Bing took place at Heidelberg University July 10-16, 2015. The artist interacts with students and researchers in a series of three events organized by Prof. Sarah E. Fraser, Chair Chinese Art History and Yu-Chieh Li, Ph.D. candidate, Institute of East Asian Art History, in cooperation with the NET1 Research Group, Heidelberg Centre of Transcultural Studies (HCTS) and the Institute of European Art History.
© Photos: Susann Henker, Institut für Kunstgeschichte Ostasiens
10 July, 2015 | Innovation from Tradition – Public Lecture
Venue: Alte Universität, Aula, Grabengasse 1, 69117 Heidelberg
In his keynote address to the scientific community and the interested public, Xu Bing (Heinz Götze Visiting Professor in Chinese Art History of 2015) will use his work as lens through which to explore how artists can build on tradition to innovate new works based on heritage technologies and media. He will focus on the trajectory of his own projects from Tianshu [Book from the Sky, 1987] to Dishu [Book from the Ground, 2013] in which the book, legibility, and transcultural understanding have all played critical roles.
11 July, 2015 | In Dialogue with Xu Bing
Venue: Neue Universität, Hörsaal 13, Universitätsplatz, 69117 Heidelberg
Xu Bing responds to questions from students and the critical public. Jason Wang, Chief Curator, Xu Bing Retrospective 2014 at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Prof. Dr. Henry Keazor, Head of the Institute of European Art History, and Prof. Dr. Sarah E. Fraser moderates the discussion.
16 July, 2015 | Audience Participation in Xu Bing's Works:
Transcultural Issues in Global Contemporary Art
Venue: Karl Jaspers Centre, Voßstraße 2, Building 4400, 69115 Heidelberg
In 1999 Xu mounted a show at the MoMA in New York, entitled, Projects 70: Banners I, flying a banner outside inscribed with the words “Art for the People,” a paraphrase of Chairman Mao’s famous quote “Art serves the people.” The 1980s Book from the Sky was one of his early works that explores the horizon of the traditional elite culture, demonstrating the impact of socialist ideals on post-Cultural Revolutionary China. From his prints about rural landscape to his current work in metal, Phoenix in St. John the Divine Cathedral, Xu Bing’s work addresses a public beyond China that resonates globally. Phoenix, consisting of two monumental birds made of demolition debris collected from construction sites in urban China, demonstrates another facet of Xu Bing’s participatory aesthetics. Inscribed in the mythic Phoenixes are the complex interconnections between labor, history, urban transformation, and inequality between social classes in today’s China. The key issue for our panel is when Xu’s concerns become part of an important global dialogue that is broader than internal Chinese concerns. Our discussion will address how his work instigated dialogues for people from all cultures and classes. Or are they rather utopian imaginations of cosmopolitanism?