Language is not typically the channel of communication for visual artists trying to reach a broad audience. In fact, many strive for universal comprehension by negating language all together. Xu Bing is anything but typical.
The Chinese-born contemporary artist not only embraces words, but also likes to toy with the viewer’s understanding of language.
Xu Bing is known for his unique printmaking and calligraphy work. One of his most famous techniques is Square Word Calligraphy, where he molds English words into forms resembling Chinese characters. He first developed this technique after moving to the United States from China in the early 1990’s.
It’s not just the audience’s perceptions that Xu Bing likes to challenge. He also pushes his own artistic boundaries. In 2017, Xu Bing made his directorial debut with Dragonfly Eyes, a film composed entirely of surveillance footage from closed-circuit cameras all across China. The film will make its American debut at the 55th New York Film Festival on October 8, 2017.
Full Frame caught up with this innovative artist to learn more about his sources of artistic inspiration and his current projects.