Pseudo-calligraphic characters are written throughout the Pudong Art Museum, creating an artistic approach to languages.
“Xu Bing: Found in Translation”, which runs until August 23, 2022, features more than 70 works by famous Chinese artist Xu Bing, including prints, sketches, installations, manuscripts, videos and documentaries .
Book from the Sky, hailed as a monumental masterpiece of contemporary Chinese art, takes the place of “Ophelia” by Sir John Everett Millais in exhibition hall A1.
The giant installation has around 4,000 “fake” Chinese characters appearing to be real. It’s like seeing a familiar face but unable to pronounce that person’s name.
Its format, laid out like ancient Chinese classics, looked so “authentic” that audiences couldn’t believe these exquisite texts ultimately made no sense. But it represents the Chinese athletic aesthetic and draws people to read.
Xu hopes to challenge the status quo of knowledge, break down the disparities caused by geographic and cultural differences, and germinate the idea of ââa “universal” language.
Hans De Wolf, academic host of the exhibition, said that Xu “opened the vein of human creativity by shaping its own new languages”. The work marked a turning point in the Chinese art world “after which it became mature overnight”.
âThese characters are so convinced of themselves, that the message, as such, doesn’t matter anymore,â he said. “Every word in the book celebrates the universal system of language, expressing the fact that in Xu’s art this ultimate idea of ââlanguage is reaching its final completion.”
Other highlights include âBook from the Ground,â a compliant book using only symbols and emoticons, and âMonkeys Grasp for the Moon,â an installation consisting of words for âmonkeyâ in 21 languages.